Accessing the international market gives small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) new economic opportunities and business growth. As guides to international shipping point out, internationalization can open a world of opportunity for SMEs.
SMEs that have established their presence on their home turf may feel that it may be safer to focus domestically. After all, establishing a presence in a new competitive market is fraught with its own challenges. Yet, this limited scope may open SMEs to risk factors that could limit their growth.
These risk factors include economic downturns, environmental events, and limited access to materials and labor. All of this results in potential revenue losses and a diminished market share.
Before your business completely rules out international expansion, consider these potential benefits.
A more diversified consumer base
If your business has successfully cornered the domestic market, you may be finding it more and more difficult to source new customers. Securing new sales can be a hard-fought uphill battle. Participating in international trade gives your business access to a whole new set of consumers.
A new market opens up a new pool of prospective customers. And as they have never seen your products or services before, this new pool of consumers may become enthusiastic advocates for your business.
A whole new audience means a whole new revenue stream. The more markets your business expands to, the more revenue streams it has access to. This expansion may even outperform your domestic growth in no time.
What’s more, partnering with the right logistics partner will allow you to streamline your supply chain, making shipping goods and services a cost-effective venture.
Provides access to a global talent pool
International expansion doesn’t only allow your business to tap into a new customer base. It also gives your business access to a more diversified team of skilled workers. These global employees can prove to be invaluable, sparking new innovations and efficiencies for your goods and services.
Additionally, products by vendors from international markets may be less expensive than their domestic counterparts, creating cost-saving manufacturing opportunities.
Facilitates better utilization of resources
These cost-saving manufacturing opportunities enable your business to better outsource production. Greater utilization of labor and material costs allows companies to minimize shipping delays and offer competitive pricing for their goods and services.
Greater international reach also allows your business to dispose of surplus goods that have saturated your home market.
Increases immunity from seasonal demands
Certain goods and services are naturally prone to seasonal demands. This can pressure many SMEs to experience low-volume months that may challenge revenue growth. SMEs that sell their goods and services globally can avoid single-market fluctuations and low-income periods.
Amplifies brand authority
There’s a certain prestige and brand recognition that comes for successfully trading internationally.
Entering a large foreign market like the EU, the United States or China can establish your brand’s credibility. And while this is no easy feat, SMEs that succeed cross-border will find their enhanced reputation will make it easier to do business at home and abroad.
Spreads business risk
Solely focusing on domestic trading makes your business prone to volatility. A dramatic shift, from political pressures to environmental disasters, can severely impact how your business performs. Having a presence in multiple markets diversifies this risk.
Taking your business global increases market diversification, helping your business mitigate potential risks. This secures revenue sources in the event that one market is exposed to trade volatility.
Enables exposure to foreign investment opportunities
The more your business grows, the more capital it will require. International trade represents added opportunity for your business to partner with domestic companies of substantial size looking to diversify their range of products and services.
Foreign investments, in turn, allow your business to source high-quality specialty products unavailable domestically. This can increase your company’s intellectual property, opening new avenues of products and services.
Allows access to favorable foreign currency exchange
International trade also secures your business against currency fluctuations. For example, if the British pound sterling is down, your business can export more, allowing your foreign customers to take advantage of the favorable exchange rate.
There is another way your business can take advantage of exchange rate fluctuations. If your foreign market currency is strong against your home currency, you can convert those foreign payments to boost your company’s bottom line.
Achieving cross-border success
With the global e-commerce market expected to grow to nearly $6 trillion by 2022, international expansion is no longer a “nice-to-have” — it’s a necessity. SMEs that fail to tap into new foreign markets are likely to be left behind by their competitors.
But thanks to advancements in technology, it’s easier for SMEs to connect with global consumers. New services and online shipping platforms as provided by trusted freight forwarding companies make it easier for SMEs to meet logistics challenges and catapult their business into foreign markets.
Through the use of these technologies, SMEs can realize the benefits above and expand their global reach with confidence.
Paul Rehmet is the Chief Product Officer for Shipa Freight. He is responsible for translating the company’s vision into an easy-to-use online freight platform for its customers. In his 25-year career, Paul has held various technology leadership positions with early-stage startups and Fortune 500 companies including Unisys, Destiny Web Solutions, and US Airways.