Sentiment is running high among international traders, with more than half (56%) confident that trade volumes will be higher in the next six months, according to an HSBC survey of 5,124 exporters, importers and traders in 17 different markets.
According to the investment website, The Street, they’re encouraged by the reality of emerging markets, especially China, noting that these offer tremendous opportunities for businesses of all sizes.
Though intraregional trade between the U.S. and Canada continues to build, with 86% of U.S. businesses saying they trade with Canada the most, there is even more enthusiasm about expanding business south of the border. Latin America was listed as the most promising region for trade growth in the next six months, followed by Greater China.
Below are five of our favorite tips from The Street on how to tap into these markets.
1. Know where the opportunity is. What countries are experiencing economic recovery at a faster pace? Which markets would be the most receptive to your goods or services? If these two match up, that’s a clear target for your company.
2. Do your research — maybe even identify some key contacts on the ground in that country. “You really need to understand the culture and the customs of that marketplace, how they do business, their needs and the process,” Mont writes, citing the VP of HSBC’s North American business banking unit. He recommends finding 10 good companies that you think would be appropriate partners and set up time to meet them.
3. Make sure you get paid. Familiarize yourself with the local currency, and make sure that your local partners have enough available cash to support any transaction that you make. We’re used to getting paid more or less on time in the U.S., but that’s a cultural assumption. In Italy, for example, delays in account receivables are the norm.
4. Services are in demand, too. American companies often think that tangible goods are the only thing you can successfully export to international markets. Consulting services are in high demand, as many foreign countries value the research-focused skills that American companies can offer.
5. Arm yourself internally with multilingual talent. Having employees with linguistic skills and cultural understanding will help you understand and adapt to the nuances and conventions often present in international communication. This too is becoming more standard: some 86% of UK employers believe languages are an important skill, according to recent research by Euro London Appointments (via The Independent).
Companies underestimate the complexity of selling beyond their linguistic borders, notes one marketing consultant. Supplementing your translation agency with a multilingual internal team will give you the extra edge needed to succeed.