Increase your revenue streams – sell overseas
Breaking into new markets is a great way for businesses to increase their revenue and stand out from the competition.
By Andy Gosheron, Vice President Field Sales Europe, FedEx Express
I have been with FedEx Express for 29 years now. One of the main bonuses of my job is that I meet new and interesting people all the time, on the road and at events. But it’s not every day that I get asked to hold a speech in such a stunning location as the rooftop café of the German parliament in Berlin. On this occasion, I was appearing at a FedEx Express-sponsored event aimed at people who want to set up their own small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and get into exporting.
During the event, held as part of German Startup Week, my colleagues and I had discussions with entrepreneurs from various industries regarding the challenges associated with setting up a company and expanding into new markets.
Here are some of the main tips that emerged from our sessions.
Have confidence in your business venture
If you believe in our good idea, go and do it
One message that I took away from the discussions was: "If you think you have a good idea and you truly believe in it, then you should go ahead and do it regardless of what other people say." In other words, entrepreneurs need to have a lot of courage to make the first step and grow their businesses from day one.
If you think you have a good idea and you truly believe in it, then you should go ahead and do it regardless of what other people say.
Export only when the time is right
Small businesses with cross-border activities are more successful
A classic dilemma for small business owners is whether and at what point a company should expand abroad. While you should think it through before going global, don’t be too hesitant. After all, studies have shown that small businesses with cross-border activities are more successful than those that only concentrate on their home market.
A study conducted by the European Union showed that these companies create more jobs and are more innovative, while another survey forecast that the number of companies generating as much as 40 percent of their revenue from international business will increase by 36 percent over the next three years.
Improve your market knowledge
Have a detailed knowledge of your market
Make sure you have detailed knowledge of your respective market and a logistical set-up which meets both the market conditions and the requirements of the product. The so-called BRIC countries/territories continue to be attractive markets even though the pace of economic growth has slowed down.
Looking to Germany
Germany is one of the world’s future growth markets
According to GE Capital, the services and financial sectors in the UK, France, Germany and Italy represent the growth markets of the future. The German market in particular remains an attractive choice for companies looking to expand in view of its size, stable political and economic environment, and excellent infrastructure. Conscious of this continued strength, FedEx Express has opened more than 30 new stations in Germany over the past two years – almost tripling its number of locations.
FedEx Express has opened more than 30 new stations in Germany over the past two years – almost tripling its number of locations.
Conduct market analysis
In-depth market research is crucial to your overseas success
There are a number of issues that companies will need to consider when expanding abroad. In my opinion, one of the most important things for entrepreneurs to do is conduct in-depth market analysis to find out if there is a demand for their product or service in the respective market.
Familiarise yourself with different cultures
Get to know the cultural characteristics and local language
Moreover, it is essential to become familiar with cultural characteristics and the language of the country/territory you’re looking to export to. This can be of particular advantage when establishing a network of partners. You should also have a good knowledge of the national systems of administration.
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