In looking for ways to grow your business, foreign markets may offer opportunities that domestic markets do not. That’s when you should delve further into exporting your products or services.
Before you start, there are certain aspects that need specific attention when expanding overseas.
Adapt to the foreign market.
What may work (in terms of marketing, sales, operations, etc.) in your country may not in another market. This might occur because consumers don’t see why they need your product or, conversely, because a local business already fulfills their needs.
To gain a competitive advantage, don’t forget to adapt pricing strategies and more to that of the country receiving your exports. It might be common to pay a certain price for your product domestically, while viewed as unusually high in another country.
Furthermore, do your products meet local standards, and what are the common commercial practices in your target country? The latter is important to optimize user experience. For example, here in Holland, it is common to pay with iDeal, while in the US, credit card payments are the standard.
Also be aware of cultural and language barriers. Learning about a new culture is not only an enriching experience, it is necessary to make your export strategy a success. Think of local business habits, mentality, manners and so forth.
By getting to know the local business culture, you can better understand the local consumers’ needs and the way they do business. This allows you to anticipate and act like a local. To be accepted by locals, you have to think like one.
Global Tip: For Dutch businesses, the Dutch ministry of Foreign Affairs just launched an app, called ‘NL exporteert’ that gives information about foreign markets, and gives access to local networks and advice.
Investigate the overseas legal environment.
Different markets have different legal requirements. Investigate the overseas legal environment. This is of particular importance if you export from the EU to the US or the other way around.
Moreover, find out whether you need an export or import license. The first depends mainly on the goods you export, the latter depends on both the goods and the country you want to export to.
Partner up with locals.
You cannot do it on your own, no matter how well you’ve prepared. To roll out your export strategy and successfully enter the foreign market, you need to establish relationships with local partners; businesses or institutions that know the market well.
Seek partners that have a large network which you can benefit from and vice versa. They can help you fit into the industry and gain fruitful business connections. Especially if they are a big player in the market … being associated with their brand might help you out too.
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