Connecting your SME to Global Markets

 

Why Go Global?

 

What prospects exist beyond the boundary of your home nation? Why as an SME are you being encouraged to “think big” and take your business abroad whether through importing, exporting, or office expansion?

 

Perhaps the answer lies in the words of small business owners of years past who have ventured out into the seemingly great abyss that is the international marketplace. For the millions of entrepreneurs who guide SME’s every day the journey certainly is not easy. The difficulty in finding and understanding overseas customers is not to be understated nor is the perceived creditworthiness of international partners. Also, over the course of learning to handle global expansion a company still has domestic obligations to sustain. Mainly, the costs from tariffs, regulations, shipping, and time must all be surmounted to make global exporting worthwhile.

 

So, with all these hurdles the thought might be “how does any SME manage to export globally on their own?” The answer to this comes in the form of connectors who operate as the company’s many partners in surmounting the barriers of international trade.

 

Connectors

 

Even when a company is not trading on global markets they rely on connectors. Whether it is clients, suppliers, financial institutions, or advisors there exists a consistent need for supporting players. The relationship between an SME and connectors gains an increased importance when dealing in new markets. Major partnerships with advisors or specialists can assist in making immediate connections in new locales. Even the best product will struggle in globally if the right exporters and importers never meet and finding a middleman of sorts to create these connections removes a major impediment for SME’s.

 

Of course entrusting a middleman to depend on is no easy task, especially if global expansion is a top priority. However, even within Ireland there are trade partners who have a foundation in assisting SME’s in exporting. WebPort Global is one such connector that exists to join importers and exporters while specializing in working with SME’s. Just having an expert connector will not guarantee success in global markets, for that companies need a strategy.

 

Strategies for Expansion

 

So, your SME has a supporting cast of players offering assistance in your journey to push your product or service beyond the boundaries of your home nation, now what?

 

Well first know that you are not alone in your ambitions. In research commissioned by Ricoh the data shows that “74 per cent of small and 86 per cent of medium sized businesses said they plan to expand into another country over the next five years”. This means that SME’s will need to identify the ideal target markets for expansion to stand out in a sea of other small or medium sized businesses. The research into a new market goes beyond checking for demand for the product as there may need to be adjustments in manufacturing materials to meet environmental regulations in different countries. For the regulative side of expansion there is always the option of contacting the local embassy for your home nation to receive resources detailing what needs to be done to get your goods past customs.

 

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Source: http://2010-2014.commerce.gov/sites/default/files/images/2015/january/sme_contribution_exports.jpg

 

The next major consideration is a formal business plan detailing your plans for operating globally. Similar to the business plans that are developed when SME’s are first established, treating foreign operations as a new business of sorts fosters the extensive planning that is wise for expansion. Whether that pertains to modelling predicted revenue, factoring in additional costs, or establishing pricing strategies all formal documentation will ease the process.

 

All of this preliminary work might discourage some SME’s from making the move globally, but trusted advisors that have helped similar companies through the journey certainly can reduce the stress.

 

Conclusion

 

If there is anything to take away from this blog, it is that as an SME you will not be alone in your desire to expand globally, nor should you feel forced to go through the process alone. Everyone benefits from having businesses offering their wares or services in more locations and support systems do exist globally to achieve this.

 

Finally, do not be afraid to lean on trusted connectors or to seek out new ones when it comes to global aspirations.

 

Interested in learning more about opportunities in Mexico or Latin America? Join our interactive platform, WebPort Global, and find the personal expertise, resources, and most importantly, connections, to expand your business anywhere in the world.

 

Stephen Lamari

International Trade Associate

World Trade Centre Dublin 

 

 

Resources

 

Desjardins & Co: http://ow.ly/4mR01N

Forbes: http://ow.ly/4n6S19

RealBusiness: http://ow.ly/4mR05S

Ricoh: http://ow.ly/4n6Pna