How To Be an Exporter

Export is big business; once you've successfully established your company to be an exporter of goods you can expect profits in the millions of dollars. However, be advised that it takes a lot to become an exporter.

1. Establish sales networks and good overseas business partners.

You've got the products, now you've got to establish the market. It's doable enough if your target consumer groups are accessible from your location, but how about if your target market is an ocean away?

If you've got the resources, you can travel to the country you are eyeing. From there you'd need to approach companies, trade areas, potential business partners whom you could establish as contacts in that foreign country and which could open that country's market for your product. If traveling is not within your budget, you could instead attend industry seminars and read trade magazines to help get you started in getting to know people who can help you penetrate your target country abroad.

2. Employ export sales firms.

You may choose to outsource your efforts in entering your target country to export sales firms. These firms would help you establish your market presence in the country you wish to trade in, or they could buy your products and act as distributors. In that capacity, they will sell your products in the foreign countries; be aware that this could mean you would have no control over your product's price, among other compromises.

3. Know the laws.

Read up on international trade agreements and taxes. Research what constitutes illegal trade methods, and what licenses to obtain. You could acquire this information from a government agency such as the Department of Commerce, the International Trade Association, local trade organizations, or their equivalent where you are.

4. Be oriented with the details.

In the export industry, it's all about the details. You'd have to get an idea what the entire export process entails: the storing and shipping of the products, how it will get to its target market, how they will be presented in the market abroad, how much the products should be valued at after all the taxes and transportation costs, how you can monitor its sales, what percentage you will receive as manufacturer (versus the ones who handle shipping, marketing and promotions), and how you will receive your money. Remember, you're working with long distances here so again, know all the details and the process involved. It's also important that your business partner is someone you can trust. 

5. Research the culture, business conditions and sales opportunities in the target country.

Find out if there is, indeed, a viable market for your product in that foreign country. An example of this is that tanning lotions may not be successful in places in Asia where fair skin is highly valued. Know what their needs are, and determine if their current business, market or even political and societal conditions are conducive enough for your business to establish a niche market.

Getting to know the steps involved in starting out in the exporting industry is perhaps the most important step of all. Keep all your bases covered, and get to know everything and everyone involved.


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