It’s one way to build sales and profits–in almost any economy.
by Ayse Oge
As debt-burdened American consumers cut back on their consumption in response to the current economic recession, a large number of small and mid-size U.S. firms look to the huge potential of emerging markets such as India, China, Brazil and Eastern European countries. These countries have a combined population of 2.6 billion people, and many of them are affluent and young in contrast with the aging population of Western Europe, Japan and the United States.
Strong exports have always been able to invigorate the American economy, and the tremendous innovative and creative power of women-owned businesses can generate international sales and help create jobs in the domestic market.
Incentives for Women Leaders Going Global
Building sales and profits. When a company faces depressed sales in its local market, international markets can pick up the slack. Export managers know this well. “We would be out of business if we have had not gone global when the domestic market was extremely slow,” Chris Sedwick told me in a 1998 interview. Sedwick is export vice president of Gruber Inc., a Valencia, Calif., manufacturer and exporter of hydro-massage systems and fiberglass molds
Gaining competitive knowledge and ideas. Your presence in the overseas markets can also provide you with invaluable competitive information and know-how. The vast majority of U.S. exporters are using their international operations as incubators for the next big hit.
Achieving economies of scale. When the demand increases due to exports, a business can spread the fixed costs over a larger base of production. This will help reduce the company’s unit costs and contribute to more profits.
Taking advantage of world niche markets. Value-added niche products are popular in world markets. Global consumers are looking for products that display performance, quality and an appealing image. Women-owned businesses have a knack for filling these niches because they are flexible and have an extraordinary innovative advantage to produce products with speed.
Niche products can be marketed as new or unique. What is new may be a twist on an old theme; as long as the idea is clearly attractive to the target audience, you are a winner. On the other hand, a brand-new product that does not fill a need in the global marketplace has very little chance to succeed, because novelty alone is not sufficient to drive sales.
For many women-led companies, the important question is not whether to go global, but how to survive and prosper outside the narrow confines of a deceptively comfortable and familiar domestic market. Exports provide women business owners a great edge in weathering local challenges and get them on the path toward growth, especially in generating additional revenue.
Ayse Oge is president of Ultimate Trade, International Trade Consulting, Speaking and Training. The San Fernando Valley Business Journal honored her as a 2009 Outstanding Woman in Business. Her work has been featured by FoxBusinessOnline, BusinessWeekOnline and Investor’s Business Daily.
Originally published on http://www.womenentrepreneur.com/2010/01/why-go-global.html