Question of the day: What are some of the key things no one tells you about exporting?
Laurel Delaney: It’s best to start with a clear strategy on how to export. You must identify products and services that can be profitably exported and know how to use the Internet to facilitate all aspects of exporting, especially marketing. There is a different system of doing things in each new market. Don’t assume you know the culture. Understand how you will get paid, how to find customers, shipping and who will be responsible for the banking fees. Mobile phones are more prominent than computers in emerging markets, so you must understand how to leverage social media and the latest technology, including using tablets and mobile phones to boost your online exports.
Many small business owners do not realize you can export services, too, such as financial services, software publishing and architectural and engineering services. Services like these offer original knowledge – and knowledge is power these days. A nursery, for example, that sells wildflowers and other native plants that many dismiss as weeds can export garden designs and customized advice that can be purchased anywhere in the world, provided that person has access to the Internet. I have a whole chapter in my book dedicated to this.
To dig deeper, explore Exporting: The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably