Face it. We live in a global economy and staying competitive means understanding that multiple channels of distribution can be a great hedge against local economic conditions, currency fluctuations and political upheaval. Many small business executives and professionals want to understand the impact that exporting their goods or services would have on the bottom line; but frankly, they just don’t have the bandwidth to take on the in-depth analysis required to make the best strategic decision. Some things to consider include:
- Choosing markets with the greatest potential.
- Understanding how to position and price your products.
- Is any localization required?
- How do we manage regulatory and legal requirements?
- What resources are available to help us?
Don’t panic – exporting is actually straightforward when you know what you’re doing and thousands of U.S.-based small businesses do it every day. Some of them decide to invest in someone that has done it before and hire an International Marketing Manager to lead their export efforts.
The International Marketing Manager does everything your domestic marketing team does and is also in tune with foreign economies, cultural norms, political landscape, etc. Fluency in the local language is always a plus. Equally important is their ability to forge strong internal ties. Exporting touches every aspect of your business including strategic planning, design, development, manufacturing, sales, shipping, marketing, accounting and so on. An International Marketing Manager needs strong organizational and communication skills to work collaboratively with stakeholders to assess the impact, and payoffs, exporting will have for each department.
Interested but not ready to fully commit? Consider reaching out to a consultant, your industry trade association, a fellow business owner who is exporting successfully or perhaps an international marketing student intern to build the framework for your analysis, analyze your current product fit, identify gaps, understand the operational and financial costs to fill those gaps and balance these against revenue projections. Regardless of whom you engage, here are some questions to ask:
- Why are you passionate about international marketing?
- What are some of the opportunities you see for a small business like ours?
- What common pitfalls do small businesses face when starting to export?
- Why do you think our product/service will be successful overseas?
- What resources are available to help small business start exporting or expand into multiple international markets?
Like all of us, your international marketing resource will not always have all the answers, but they will know where to go. The U.S. Department of Commerce, Small Business Administration and the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank) are federal government agencies that have the people, processes and resources to help.
Would you like to start with a FREE consultation? Click on the link below to work with an EXIM Bank specialist: