10 Mandatory Steps for SMEs When They Want to Explore the Export Market
Doing business expansion can be done in many ways. In general, expansion can be interpreted as an effort to increase sales or distribution channels of a product. This expansion can be done domestically or explore the export market. Not only for large companies, micro, small, and medium enterprises or SMEs are also entitled to explore the export market.
Even so, export efforts for SMEs cannot be done haphazardly. At least, there are 10 steps that must be passed by SMEs before entering foreign markets. This was conveyed by Ira Damayanti, General Chair of the Indonesian Diaspora SME Export Empowerment & Development (ID SEED)
Ira Damayanti, General Chairperson of ID SEED
The first stage before SME activists explore the export market, make sure they have identified the product. Understand the product you want to sell and do some research on market tastes first.
Ask yourself, does the product you make already have export potential? Where do you want to sell it, and who will buy it? Know your product, and know the market.
Next, you can do market development from the results of market and product identification. Adjust the market taste on the product you want to sell.
“You can’t insist when your product mix is already in demand in the local market and equate it with the international market. You must understand the tastes of your target market consumers. For example, when selling food, not all countries like spicy food, which is popular in Indonesia,” said Ira.
When you have found the right product, identify the standards that apply in the export destination country. Every country has different standards. Simply put, sizing on clothing or shoe products. Size standards in Asia, America, Europe, and other parts of the world are often different.
For this reason, SMEs who want to sell exports need to adjust market standardization before selling products so that they are delivered on target.
One of the housework that is quite complicated when SMEs want to enter the export market is taking care of certification. There are many aspects that need to be considered in the products to be sold to meet the requirements and certification of export activities.
For example, in food products that must be certified safe for consumption or halal certificates from the destination country or standards applicable in the region. In addition to obtaining an export permit, of course this certification will foster trust from consumers.
When everything is ready, do product marketing by creating a profile, activating social media, to creating a company website. The goal is none other than to make your product easily recognized and trusted by target consumers.
Looking for buyers
“Finding a buyer is not as easy as one might think. This is a challenge for SMEs who want to export. Then think about the documents needed. For example, selling coffee must first go to the quarantine center, take care of phytosanitary , other documents, and don’t forget to confirm correspondence regarding payment. You must understand the various provisions. How to pay is the spearhead. Don’t let go of the goods first before the payment method is unclear,” said Ira.
On the other hand, we can’t expect to be 100% pre-purchased. Buyers also don’t want the product to not be delivered if it’s been paid for.
After a sale and purchase agreement is reached, you can start production. Make sure, the product you make does not go out of the agreed specifications. Otherwise, you may not get paid and even lose customers because your good name is tarnished.
Perform QC by an expert
“Don’t forget to also carry out quality control (QC) on SME products that you want to export. This QC must be carried out by a special person who really understands the specifications and quality of the product so that the product is in accordance with what is requested by the buyer ,” explained Ira.
The next step in exploring the export market for SMEs is to start looking for financing. It can be through banks or looking for investors. “Financing is done at the final stage. It is important for SMEs to build capacity first rather than seeking financing.
Delivery dengan excellence service
The last stage for SMEs who want to export, make sure you can provide maximum service. When we are able to deliver our products with excellent service , usually buyers will make repeat purchases.
“These ten cycles are indeed long and must be fulfilled. These steps can also be taken to explore the domestic market. However, for exports, these steps are taken to prevent our goods from being returned, or defective when shipped, which will certainly be detrimental because in general the logistics costs will be very expensive,” concluded Ira.