Intensified globalization and trade liberalization have opened up opportunities for business expansion around the world. Business organizations can now venture into international markets that were previously underserved or entirely untapped. One viable strategy for achieving growth in this global setup is exporting. Improvements in transport and communication technologies have substantially minimized the logistical bottlenecks associated with moving products across international borders. Businesses can thus position themselves in such a way as to reap big from the consequent increase in trading opportunities. However, to fully realize the potential gains of exporting, management must undertake several steps in developing a viable and sustainable export strategy. These steps include research, resource planning, market path identification and strategic partnership development.
Knowledge of the intended export market is crucial in the success of any export venture. Management should thus carry out extensive research regarding the economic viability of the intended market and the demographics of the target consumers. Further, the legal and political environment of the target market should be keenly studied since these factors affect business operations in fundamental ways. The research effort should also focus on understanding competitors who are already established in the target market. An analysis of their strategies is crucial to developing effective counter-measures. Evidently, market research is an indispensable part of any successful export strategy.
Management should use the insights gleaned from market research to develop a workable resource plan. They should examine the business organization's capability in terms of human capital, financial strength and technical knowledge, and evaluate whether they are up to the challenge. The amount of financial resources to be allocated to the export venture should be decided at this stage. Similarly, the right people for the job should be identified to ensure that operations will run smoothly especially in the early stages. The essence of resource planning is to ensure value for money is obtained, and to identify ways of filling any resource gaps.
Market Path Identification
There are different paths which businesses can take in delivering their products to market. A crucial element of any export venture is the distribution network. Management should explore the various alternatives pertaining to distributing the product in the target market. Options in this regard include franchising, employing direct sales representatives, appointing licensed distributors and establishing a regional hub, just to name a few. Possible alternatives should be evaluated for their economic viability and sustainability over the long term. This analysis should be guided by both market research and resource availability.
Strategic Partnership Development
The final step is identifying strategic partners in the target market. These partners comprise both product distributors and business consultants. The distributors will be charged with moving the products while the consultants will be important in helping management to navigate the nuanced operational aspects of the target market. Before any partnership is pursued, it is important for the potential partner to be thoroughly vetted to avoid losses and potential legal problems in future. The local knowledge of these partners is an important success factor for the export venture.
More business opportunities have been availed by globalization. Businesses around the world are thus exploring international markets with the view of expanding their client pool and boosting their revenues. Having a well-thought export strategy is fundamental to the success, or the lack of it thereof, of international business. This strategy should be informed by research, resource planning, market path identification and strategic partner development. Ultimately, a forward looking strategy will often distinguish successful export ventures from the failures.
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