Marketing Your Business Overseas

The global economic crisis has been particularly damaging to the economies of the so-called developed world, such as the USA, Europe and the UK and has stimulated businesses there to search further afield for opportunities that have diminished in their home countries.

The emerging BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have been a particular focus for business partnerships because of their rapid economic growth over the last decade and because of their low labour costs. As the populations in these countries have grown richer they have shown an increased appetite for consumer goods on which to spend their increased disposable incomes.

It is likely that there will be similar opportunities in the newly "democratised" countries of the Middle East following the various uprisings known as the Arab Spring or Arab Awakening, particularly those most advance in the process such as Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, some of which have long established trade histories with Europe and the USA.

The opportunities are not only for the big global corporations, however, and there is no reason why smaller enterprises should not also take the plunge into exporting.

To do so, however, requires information and contacts, knowledge of the target countries and the way people do business in them, and trustworthy local agents who can help them if their aim is to export, whether by e-commerce or physically supply products or services.

Smaller companies may not have huge reserves that they can afford to spend on travelling to those countries at least in the initial stages of fact finding and while their home governments will be able to provide some information they will generally have to have done some research of their own first to establish the characteristics of the overseas market they are interested in.

There are legal requirements, paperwork, import duties, banned goods, each particular to the country concerned that also need to be established before proceeding.

As people across the world become more and more internet literate marketing techniques are evolving rapidly. Where at one time it required almost exclusively on printed literature such as brochures and letters this rapidly moved online to websites, with the additional offering of a downloadable version of the product catalogue to be printed off.

Promotion of goods and special offers has increasingly been done by email and e-newsletters, but the volume is rapidly reaching the point where such communications are categorised as spam and deleted unread.

So how is the new potential exporter to break into an overseas market and capture the attention?

The answer is an online trading portal where they can keep pace with market developments, solicit leads, showcase examples of their products, sell online and find local experts who can guhde them through the documentation needed to comply with regulations as well as find them a translation service when they need to be presented in the local language.

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