Products won't sell anywhere if they can't compete. To compete, your
product must match or exceed the appeal of others -- in meeting needs,
in quality, in price, etc.
Are you export-competitive? You may be export competitive even without realizing it. For example, if your product has sold well in the domestic market, chances are it will also sell abroad!
Why? By succeeding in the competitive domestic market, you've already proven your product can compete not only against other domestic products, but also against “imported” products. This is essentially the same competition you'll meet when you export.
However, you must remember that the overseas playing field will be “different”. You may need to adapt your product and pricing to compete. You may have to absorb added marketing and shipping costs to remain price competitive. You may have to offer credit and wait longer for payment. You may need to alter your product to comply with local standards and tastes.
Are you prepared to do what it takes to compete? If not, you won't succeed as an exporter.
As with any business, you'll need experienced staff, a location and
equipment. It's possible to start with as little as a home-based
office, and a computer, phone and fax. If you're already established,
and have these basic things, you will have to use your
resources to research and develop potential markets abroad.
As export orders come in, you'll need enough inventory to fill them, or the ability to produce or acquire more product as needed. If your customers want delayed payment terms, you'll have to pay for financing.
You CAN minimize these costs and still export, but you CAN’T eliminate them entirely. Do you have or can you get the necessary resources?
How you enter and market in a foreign market is important. Marketing
and distribution practices are different from country to country. They
are often controlled by law, custom, or necessity.
Some countries may require or prefer certain marketing or distribution methods, such as direct sales or use of local agents. Other countries may control or not allow them. Some countries have excellent mass media and high receptivity to advertising, trade shows, mail order, etc. Others do not approve of these approaches or do not have the modern communication technologies to support them.
Are you prepared to adapt your marketing methods? If not, you'll need to limit yourself to markets more like your own.
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