Small businesses are online and that means they are seen globally. However, can they market globally? According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), it’s easier than ever for you to expand globally. According to the SBA, 95 percent of consumers are not in the United States. According to Shahram Shirkhani, an expert in international commerce, there are many factors to consider including international business law. However, you can overcome challenges such as costs, logistics, local customs, trade laws and fluctuation currency conversion rates and take advantage of the global market place.
These are some tips for going global.
Research is crucial
Conduct research on other countries. This is how you find out which countries have a need for your product or service. Some countries are growing faster than others. The following countries have an emerging middle class that is educated and has well-paying jobs and buying power:
• The Philippines
Each market will have specific growth sectors such as electronics, fertilizer, sugar, consumer goods and cars. Some places have a burgeoning upper class that is interested in wine and fine arts.
You also need to research countries capable of meeting your economic, geographic, logistic and political demands. Does the country have a convenient port or airport, and what is the time frame for your shipments to arrive?
You may need a professional international legal consultant to help you deal with the customs, trade and shipping laws. These laws cover how shipments are received in the country as well as what type of products can be sold. A company selling food will have a different set of laws than a company selling electronics.
A Logistics Agent
Logistics is very important. Your product needs to arrive on time and not be held up in customs. There may be additional fees to pay, and it is possible that it could arrive in the wrong location. A logistics agent will offer a wide variety of services that make the process easier. You may be able to find an agent that provides duties, taxes, comprehensive country trade and customs information, time calculators and automated processing. Look for an agent that is certified by the Transported Asset Protection Association.
You will require additional funds to expand your business globally, but this may not be a problem. The Small Business Administration offers financing through special loan and export loan programs. You can also get working capital from the Export and Import Bank. They provide pre-export financing, export credit insurance, direct loan and loan guarantees.
There is help out there for you. You can start by looking at the websites of the International Monetary Fund, the Federation of International Trade Associations, the International Trade Administration and the Association of American Importers and Exporters.
A Business Plan
Make sure you take the time to create an international business plan. It takes much more time to get out of problems created by a lack of planning that it does to plan ahead and do it right the first time.
The rules are changing, and small businesses are going global in a big way. Remember, English may not be the language you need, and more than half of consumers prefer products with information in their own language on the packaging.