“Export-ready” is a buzzword that’s misleading. Your export journey starts way before you wave goodbye to your first pallet of product. If the idea of sharing your successful product with a new market has been tossing around in your mind at all then let’s break down common export myths to get to the truth.

You could be export ready after all! 

1. I’m just not ready to export.

Your product is selling well in the domestic market and you’re getting great feedback from customers, but you’re uneasy about the idea of exploring new markets. Way before your product lands in a new country, export starts with market research. Research helps you discover what markets crave your products, and there are public organizations and government programs that offer high-quality, free consultation and research to businesses. 

Relationship building at home and abroad is another step in your export journey that comes before committing to the final sale. Developing relationships with local supply chain professionals, government support staff and businesses experienced in exporting — which you can do at Roads Rails Runways — gives you a support network to fall back on when you have export questions or concerns. Take it one step further, and there are opportunities to travel to markets of interest on a trade mission. These opportunities help you understand the market so that you can start developing relationships abroad to help you pinpoint the best cities, customers and retail placements for your product. You can then test the market’s reaction to a small volume of your product by selling your product during a holiday for example.

2. I can’t handle producing the volume that exporting will require.

Exporting is all about finding the right fit: the right markets and the right placements. If you’re looking at chains, some require product for all 1000 of their stores, which is excellent if you can handle the volume, but there are smaller chains or standalone speciality shops that might be the perfect fit for your business when exporting for the first time. Leaning on the public organizations that are connected to foreign markets is your best strategy for finding a distribution fit. 

3. Exporting is too expensive

You can look at this concern a few different ways. First, you need to learn about all of the market development loans and grants available to you from various trade organizations that may provide you with capital to enter new markets. Consider that often export will cause you to put systems and efficiencies in place to handle more volume. Finally, getting into an export mindset means you’ll learn about new innovations and best practices from people and markets around the world, resulting in a competitive edge and, potentially, new product ideas and directions for your business internationally and domestically.

4. If I export my local brand will suffer

Maybe you’ve built your brand with a local focus and you’re afraid of losing that story if you start exporting. Again, fit comes into play. The right partnerships with foreign brands or storefronts that also focus on local values will help you tell your story your way. When doing business internationally, you can absolutely still focus on quality materials or ingredients, family values, sustainable practices, etc.

5. Foreign customs, regulations and languages are impossible to navigate.

Your job in the supply chain is to create a compelling product. You can work with experts to help with the rest of the supply chain. Businesses can be tasked with navigating the customs, regulations and communications with your export market. Freight forwarders are here to help on the export side; customs brokers help on the import side; trade commissioners and government officials have offices around the world to help you navigate a new market and make local connections. 

You are not alone on your trade journey and you’re more ready than you think. Hopefully we’ve relieved some of your concerns and you’re more confident that your business may be export ready. And we hope you’re now excited to learn more about export opportunities and are brimming with questions. There are countless businesses who have ‘been there, done that’ for you to learn from, plenty of organizational and government support and an entire supply chain made up of experienced professionals to help you move your product. Meet them and learn from them at Roads Rails Runways, June 19 to 20, 2017. To learn more, click here.

See you in June!

-Edmonton Economic Development’s Trade and Investment Team


Learn the easier way. Attend Roads, Rails Runways conference on June 19 - 20, 2017.