When I think of traded sector business and bringing new dollars into the local economy, I like to think big. As in international-sized big.
Did you know that doing business with foreign markets isn’t nearly as daunting as it sounds? “International” could be as close as Canada or Mexico. And many places around the globe are English speaking, making business negotiations a lot less scary. Have you considered trying to sell your products outside of the United States?
There are some basic reasons for wanting to expand your product’s reach into other countries. For one thing, there are a lot of customers out there! The United States represents only 5 percent of the world’s consumers, and that leaves the other 95 percent as a potential market for you. If you have saturated your local market(s) then casting your gaze to farther away places makes sense. This has the potential of increasing cash flow, and even smoothing out the seasonality of your cash flows.
Additionally, going global can be a risk management strategy as your business wouldn’t be tied only to the local economy and the business cycles of the domestic economy.
But how do you even begin to think about this if the idea is new to you?
Start with examining four basic readiness factors. Ask yourself if you have 1) a good handle on your current production and product line 2) the commitment from management to try an international expansion 3) adequate cash flow 4) and the capacity and capability to produce products for an international market.
If the answer is yes to all four of these, then look at the challenges associated with such an endeavor and assess whether your business can manage them.
Do you have a long enough timeline to enable you to move in this direction, and will your cash hold out while you implement all the pieces? Will you need to modify your products to suit the regulations of the new market? Can you assume a financial risk without getting hurt beyond repair? What about licenses and documentation in the new country?
You can explore these questions and many more at the Export.gov website. There are links to all kinds of great free information resources. Additionally, there’s a wonderful nine-module series called Before You Go Global at BizCenterGlobal.org.
Think big! Your local friends and neighbors will thank you!