EXPORTING IN 7 STEPS TURNS FOUR
I described my method in the book Exporting in 7 Steps four years ago (Guerini & Associati publishing).
I am a temporary export manager and consultant and I have successfully applied this method to more than 60 small-medium enterprises. Our companies rarely come up with a strategy when dealing in foreign markets; they participate in a trade fair and then wing it. Today, however – more than ever – it is essential to have apply a periodic check-up; to understand if we are concentrating our efforts on the markets with the highest potential. What our “gut” tells us is important, but it is no longer enough! Exporting in 7 Steps is in fact a simple method for carrying out these check-ups and clearly deciding your export strategies.
I have been collaborating for many years with the FarExport branch of the Vicenza Confindustria (the General Confederation of Italian Industry) which shared my method. Each year it offers internships to economics students at member companies. The preparation for the internships takes place following the method Exporting in 7 Steps: FarExport Junior Assistant.
HOW THE EXPORTING IN 7 STEPS METHOD WORKS
The 7 steps that make up the method – in a nutshell – are the following:
- First of all it is necessary to understand which markets are the most important for our products (there are digital tools that help us in this analysis).
- Then we have to understand what our competitors are doing: in which markets are they most present, through which channels and which aspects do they highlight to sell?
- Finally, let us ask ourselves: why do customers buy our products? We need to understand the true value we bring to them. Often we focus only on the product and the price; that’s not enough.
- At this point we will summarize the information collected and we will be able to clearly define – in writing – our export strategy.
- Once this is done, we will identify the names and surnames of our potential contacts – customers, agents or distributors – in the selected countries.
- Then we will ask ourselves: what can I do to improve my communication? This is an aspect where small and medium enterprises still invest too few resources.
- The last point marks the beginning of the operational phase, the one in which “we will knock on our customers’ door”; and here, then, are some tips to play our hand well during that first contact.
DIGITAL TOOLS FOR EXPORTING
I published this book before the pandemic broke out. If I had to rewrite it today, I would add a chapter on digital tools; indispensable nowadays in the export manager’s toolbox. This is why I have now written a short guide on the subject with Export Best Practice. You can download it from the site: Export Best Practice
Since 2021 I have been participating in the Export Best Practice project which aims to combine the skills of expert consultants with specialized analysts on the data front, to offer small and medium-sized enterprises a complete catalogue of export support services.