Daily Archives: April 18, 2009

The British Chambers of Commerce Top Ten Export Tips

The BCC, which recently urged small business to take a measured approach to export opportunities (created as a result of the weakening pound), also provided exporters with a handy dandy notebook filled with its top ten exporting tips that covered some basics that even old pros need to be reminded of every now and again. So, without further ado, here are the BCC’s top ten export tips:

  1. Do Your Homework
    There are export rules for your home country and import rules for the country you plan to import into that cover reporting requirements, safety requirements, and duties and tariffs, among other things. Learn these facts up front, or risk massive fines and seizures later that could, insted of growing your business, kill it.
  2. Understand the Market
    Is your product and service appropriate for the market you want to export into? Will people buy it at a profitable price point? Are you trying to sell a Nova in Mexico?
  3. Research Costs
    In addition to the duties and tariffs, you’ll also incur shipping costs and loading, unloading, and storage costs at the docks, at a minimum. And these costs can increase substantially in good economic times.
  4. Understand Exchange Rates
    A small fluctuation in the exchange rate can lead to a large fluctuation in your profit margin, possibly wiping it out completely.
  5. Look to the Future
    Is there long-term potential in the new market? Or is it a short-live opportunity that will disappear when the economic situation improves at home or abroad?
  6. Assess the Competition
    Who are you competing against? Could they wipe you out with a simple change in their marketing strategy?
  7. Communicate Effectively
    You need to be sensitive to language and cultural differences in your target market. The last thing you want to do is imitate the AT&T Commercial and call your potential buyer Mr. Stinky Fish Face.
  8. Streamline Paperwork
    Not only should you secure export certification and documentation online to save time and money, but you should use leading SaaS trade management systems to manage the process as this will allow you to track your shipments and create any additional documents or reports you might need on-demand. Remember, you need trade visibility.
  9. Don’t Over-Commit
    Take new markets one by one and make sure you’re solid in one before embarking on a second. If you over-commit, not only could you risk them all, but you could lose key customers at home.
  10. GET HELP
    Expert support and advice through every stage of the process the first few times you go through it is invaluable. It is often the difference between success and failure.