In part 1, we only mentioned China as a new and possible market. By no means is China the only market with a large consumer base.
Of course each product has its own market, but few small businesses look beyond their own local environment.
As an American business, you have one major advantage over most of your international competitors (of which there are many). Your advantage? Reputation. In every country that I have visited, I always hear the same remarks - Americans are quality oriented in manufacturing and in service. It is for this very reason America still enjoys a commanding lead in manufacturing and a huge trade SURPLUS in the Services industry around the world.
Todays American businesses are enjoying the reputation built over many generations before them. When asking foreign buyers "Which countries do you trust more in terms of business deals?" nearly all said "The US" But there must be a measure of "give & take".
If you are able and willing to lower profit margins and assume some inherent risk associated with international business, then the long term benefits can be far greater than remaining with a narrow customer base.
There are two common approaches to entering the international market world.
First, just jump in with both feet. Use the internet to find buyers in other countries who are seeking products and services like yours and try to strike a deal. Spend time and money advertising on one or several of the many B2B sites. Travel to trade shows in different countries.- A few (very, very few) have actually became successful using this method.
Second, look closely at your business. Is it really suited to the needs and taste of international customers? Are you in a position to handle additional task and employee additional qualified staffing to assist you? Can your company accept a certain level of risk?- If not, international business is not for you. If yes to all these questions, start by researching areas like; Risk, Regulations, Foreign markets and cost.
We will go into more detail in part 3