Taking Your Small Business Abroad: How To Sell To International Markets
Small businesses can often have great success internationally. By filling a gap in international markets, large amounts of demand can arise for your small business.
But how can you make your small business desirable to international markets?
Obviously, to reach international customers, you’ll have to ship your goods overseas. This usually costs much more than domestic shipping. So, when international customers seek a good, why would they turn to your business over one of their own domestic companies, whose shipping is much cheaper?
It can be desirable to offer free international shipping, but often this is just not feasible. Generally, you just want to aim for shipping costs around the same amount as domestic businesses. The costs associated with international shipping can be hard to understand, but you can mitigate risks with a customs broker.
If this means you have to put a shipping cost that is lower than it costs you to ship your goods, you might want to ensure you are making up the money elsewhere. You may be making enough profit to cover this cost, or you might want to make the cost of the good itself a bit higher.
If lowering shipping prices isn’t possible for your business, the only way to bring demand is to offer something truly unique. This way, you won’t have to compete with domestic companies, because there simply won’t be anything like what you’re selling.
When looking to start selling abroad, study the markets and economies of individual countries. Only choose countries where you won’t be facing too much competition.
It’s a common mistake to open up to selling internationally to any country. This is a bad idea, though, as each country will offer you different levels of demand. Start with a few countries, then open it out to more if the move is successful.
As you don’t live in these international countries, the only way to communicate with potential customers is through the internet.
Attracting customers is much more difficult, but social media has made things easier. With a strong social media presence, you can bring in customers from all over the world.
Whilst there are many possible platforms, it isn’t always the best strategy to have a presence on all of them. Each platform works differently, and it can become a waste of time if you are continually trying to keep each updated. Instead, pick a few, and concentrate lots of effort on them. Do a few well, rather than many badly.
It might benefit you to hire a social media manager. Sometimes, looking at the younger generation for this role is beneficial. Though they have less experience, they will be more up to date on social media trends, and so will be able to keep you in the loop, and bring in the right kind of customer.
International selling is a tricky game
Going international with a small business is not always easy. But, as long as you act carefully whilst taking the odd risk, it can pay off.
Categories: Outside Contributors