The idea of doing business in Latin America, The Caribbean, Paris, or Greece sounds really invigorating. I mean come on, who wouldn’t like to be lingering in the corridors of Monaco or the white sand beaches of the Caribbean? It may sound sexy, but are you really ready to take your business on an adventurous journey into an unfamiliar continent?
According to the International Trade Administration, “Less than one percent of America’s 30 million companies export – a percentage that is significantly lower than all other developed countries.” The U.S. holds about less than 30% of the world’s purchasing power, meaning there is a large market outside of the U.S. that could yield you great profits they just haven’t heard of your product yet. The U.S. is already known for being innovative and having high quality goods. Even the importance that we take in customer service isn’t something often seen in other countries. So why not take advantage of the faster sales growth potential and the opportunity to create more jobs and earn more money that is associated with exporting firms. Here are 6 tips to help you smoothly navigate your business into international waters.
1. Tell your story: Every culture that exists has had a strong storytelling culture. Stories are used for entertainment, for teaching, and for passing on old knowledge and wisdom. In certain Native American cultures, stories are so integral to the people that every question is answered by storytelling. So why not use this technique as an avenue to introduce your product and business philosophy into a new culture. Be prepared to answer the question of why you have decided to bring your product into a foreign market. For example, if you are looking to sell paper in Costa Rica, you should be prepared to talk about the gap your company is filling and the advantages that your product may bring to your potential business partner. Your story should also include statistics and data. For example, did you know that Costa Rica does not produce cardboard boxes? They are actually imported from Canada and the US. It’s statements like these that can really make an impact on your future business partner.
2. From Paper to Practice: Writing down your international goals is a great way to be clear on what needs to be achieved. It’s even better when you begin to turn your goals into actions. Keep track of your daily goals and measure your outcome. I have a FREE Printable Action Plan Guide you use. Click here to grab it.
3. Reach out and touch someone: Success leaves clues. Find three businesses that have expanded into similar markets. A human connection is a thousand times more powerful than a technology connection. Writing an email introduction is a good first start but it won’t seal the deal. Reach out to talk to someone one who will help you make a new contact, build rapport and who knows you may end up going into business with each other.
4. Track your trends: Update your business: As the economy changes so does your plan: There is no denying that knowledge is power. Raise some brows as you roll out some recent trends and add them to your marketing materials or in conversations with potential partners or vendors. The more you know about trends, the more opportunities that will be created as you navigate your way through international markets. Business resources can always be found online about trends. One that I like is a community group on LinkedIn called Future trends. Check it out and leave feedback below.
5. Educate your clients and community: If your social and the business community are learning from you, it will keep your business at the top of their minds. Sharing knowledge is a beautiful and great thing to do. You’re giving something to someone that is useful and helping to better that individual. This brings us to our next point…
6. “Don’t be Greedy, Give to the Needy”: Pay it forward: Studies have shown that people who give are happier and more fulfilled than those that do not. It’s also known that people who give have better business track records, so go ahead and give it a try. You may end up liking it and making philanthropy a part of your business philosophy. Cause related marketing is a great strategy to include in your business plan. Your audience will be a lot more invested in your business because you’re letting them know that you care about the community and the world around us.
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