Entering the international market arena for the first time is always an exciting prospect. The chance to grow into new markets and expand your business’s influence is one many CEOs relish – but it can be hard to know whether your company is fit to make the leap into the uncharted territory that is the international economy.
Exporting is not exclusive to big business – nearly 88 per cent of Australian exporters are SMEs.
Have you considered exporting? Here are six signs to suggest that your business could be ready to expand into global markets.
1 You’re getting interest from overseas customers
An inbox full of requests from international prospective customers is a good sign there’s demand for your product overseas. In this increasingly connected world, it can be surprisingly easy for a company to build an international reputation with relatively little effort. The electric car company Tesla is a good example – for years they spent nothing on advertising, while worldwide demand for their vehicles was soaring.
2 Your product would fit well in an overseas market
One reason you could be receiving requests from overseas potential customers is that your business offers something no one in their local market does. But even if the word hasn’t yet spread, the point still holds: a market with no competitors – or competitors whose products or services don’t match your own – is a prime opportunity for international expansion.
3 You’ve saturated your local market
Being the big ﬁsh in a small pond can be great, but sometimes it’s more exciting to take on a bigger pond instead. If you’re dominating your domestic market, and there’s little room to grow without expanding your offerings, it could be a sign that you’re ready to take on international markets. While each country’s market is different, the ability to be the leader in at least one is a good proof-of-concept that your business could be a ﬁt for others too.
4 You don’t have debt, cash flow or staffing problems
Moving into international markets should never be a stretch. Business is ruthless, and if your fundamentals aren’t stable, then the chances of failure are ever greater. If, on the other hand, your business is in good shape – you have no unwieldy debt burden, plenty of cash ﬂow, and sufﬁcient and effective staff – you could be ready to take on the international market.
5 You successfully manage multiple locations domestically
Managing multiple locations in your domestic market takes many of the same skills required to manage multiple locations around the globe. You need to know how to ﬁnd skilled local managers; you need to have a company culture that isn’t conﬁned by the walls of the head ofﬁce; and you need to understand the peculiarities of each local operation while keeping the values and principles of the national company intact. Running a successful business network domestically is a sign you maybe ready to expand that network over international borders.
6 You already have a network of international suppliers and connections
In today’s globalised world, it’s no longer necessary for supply chains and business partners to be from your market. If you’ve already built up international relationships with key suppliers, think about how and whether these connections would function were you to start an international operation. With the right network, making the jump from domestic to international can sometimes be easier than you might think.
Are you interested to learn more about doing business in China? Register your interest in Bentleys’ forthcoming trade mission to China, or contact your local Bentleys advisor to discuss your international aspirations.