Home Articles & Features Selling overseas – is it right for your business?

Selling overseas – is it right for your business?

Selling Globally

Proceed with caution to find success

It can be very tempting to branch out into new, overseas markets, especially if your home market sales are sluggish.  However, whilst there’s no doubt that exporting overseas can offer a whole host of new business opportunities; it’s very important that you thoroughly research your new market before dipping your toe in the water.

Avoiding expensive mmistakes

To be successful in export markets, thorough market research is vital if you are to avoid expensive mistakes, increase your chances of finding the most appropriate market and to identify the best way for you to sell your products overseas. It’s worth bearing in mind that many potential overseas exporters fall at the first hurdle for the simple reason that they haven’t researched the culture, language or legal system of their target market.

Thorough market research should focus on the finding out as much as possible on the size, availability and degree of competition in your target marketplace, plus whether there is, in fact, any level of demand at all.  Remember that there’s little point in trying to sell a product in place where there is no market so don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because your product sells well at home, it will sell just as well overseas.

It may be that modifications are required to make your product more appropriate for an overseas market: you might, for example, have to have the instructions translated or labelling altered to comply with different rules.  Regulatory bodies in other countries can and do impose rigorous health and safety regulations or there may be constraints on where or how you advertise.

Cutting through the red tape

The ‘red tape’ that goes hand in hand with exporting overseas can prove daunting as there’s an awful lot to get to grips with such as variations in payment methods, licences and shipping terms and conditions. With this in mind, local bureaucracy can prove to be a deciding factor when it comes to choosing target markets.

One of the mistakes made by businesses selling overseas for the first time is to assume that overseas business is done in the same way that we do here in the UK.  For example, in some international markets business can only be done via a national in that company, or it might be that you have to sell direct or use your own distributor or sales agent.  By establishing the processes involved and the potential costs you will be able to decide whether your product will produce enough sales to make exports worthwhile.