As the world continues to “shrink” thanks to the globalization of the economy, domestic companies are more and more often setting their sights on foreign markets. It’s an opportunity to source cheaper materials and find international buyers which are willing to purchase your specialized products, either due to their competitive pricing, their high quality, or their unique nature.
However, becoming an internationally renowned manufacturing brand is not as easy as hanging an “open for business” sign on your workshop’s door. There are several important aspects every manufacturing company looking to expand their horizons needs to address before diving into international markets.
Before investing time and money into acquiring international clientele, it’s important to do some market research. Though you were sure to do some research before launching your manufacturing business in the first place and compared yourself to local competitors, it’s time to set your sights further. Evaluate your competitions’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats against your own. See how you compare to them, and what your customers would be looking for. Research trends in the market and where they are headed. Once you have finished this research and compiled it into a business plan, you’ll be primed for expansion of your client base. Otherwise, you might find that you should forgo the idea altogether, and rather focus your efforts on marketing to domestic buyers. The answers are in the research.
- Digital Branding
Many companies today connect over the internet. They google producers, suppliers, manufacturers, etc., and compare online results before reaching out to the companies individually by email or telephone. If you do not have a website or some other sort of online “real estate”, then you could be seriously disadvantaged in connecting with foreign companies who could be interested in your services or products. Creating a professional website with valuable and accurate content should be your second step in setting up your business for international markets.
- International Marketing
There are different ways of getting the word about your manufacturing company out there. From attending international industry conferences and networking with potential clients, to buying advertising space in an industry journal, this is your chance to make your name an international sensation with a reputation. This could also include a series of international trade shows in which you can present your offerings to interested buyers or even potential future clients. If you have a chance to prove yourself an expert by sitting on a panel or giving a talk, that would boost your reputation and position as a thought leader in the field.
- Translation Services
If you are going to be exporting your manufactured goods outside the borders, you will probably need to use a manufacturing translation services in order to provide your client the right information. Once you grow to a certain size and have reoccurring clients in certain countries, you could hire in-house translators, but until you get to that point, it’s a role you can easily outsource for high quality results.
- Contact Distributors/Sales Teams
Sometimes it’s not even about connecting directly with clients. It’s sometimes as easy as having distributors in your desired markets do the connecting and selling for you. They usually have a better understanding of local players in the market and what their needs are, and they can recommend your services or products in your name. Though you will have to offer them a commission, it’s most likely worth your while, especially when first launching internationally.
Though some see globalization as a threat to the local economy, it could be an opportunity for local manufacturing businesses to explore markets far away and gain international recognition.