Many first-time exporters express concern over how they are going to manage the distribution and marketing process in an overseas market. Many are also concerned that the process might be taken out of their hands and that they might have to surrender some control. These concerns are reasonable and valid, but there are options available to address such concerns. Whether you want to concentrate on producing the goods in your home market, are keen to be involved at every level, or just feel unsure about how best to approach the export market, you should be able to develop an appropriate strategy to meet your own particular aims.
Gaining a foothold in a market requires, inter alia, an awareness of how it operates. For example, buyers may place all their orders for your type of product at one particular annual trade fair or exhibition. Attending will be the only way to make sales; there’s no point in hiring an agent for that market, however efficient they are. Other markets, however, might be entered far more easily by going through an established distributor. Choosing a sensible market entry method, therefore, can save you time, effort and money, and ensure that news of your product reaches the right buyers in the marketplace. Making a good choice can also shape how your international trade will develop long term.
It is important to consider all the elements of your project before selecting your entry method. You will be thinking about the nature of your product, the markets to which to sell to and the availability of your resources. There is no reason why you should limit yourself to just one market entry method. Indeed, the best method in one market may not work in another. As a first-time exporter, however, you are probably focusing on one key market so limit your market entry method to just one as well.
By this stage you have decided what it is you are planning to sell. If not, then read the PROFIT factsheet on Internationalisation which will help you to clarify the opportunity.