Expanding into new markets, domestic or international, can be an exciting and at the same time, a worrisome experience.  While a willing attitude may seem like all you may need, having the experience required and an idea in mind of what’s to come can be the difference between acquiring a foothold in a new market and overextending yourself into a financial mistake.

As the need to expand and grow our economy becomes more and more prevalent, we have some advice as to what SME’s can do to prepare themselves for the exploration of new markets. These tips should be considered BEFORE exporting can begin!

  1. As many company’s have noticed in the 21st century, is that your employees can make or break your business. A company that has a poor culture, with employees who are not committed to the business and its success are doomed to fail under strain. That is why the first step in setting up international trade and exports is to build up your own house and promote a positive culture where all cogs in your machine will work well together; providing the added bonus of goodwill within and outside of your newly expanding enterprise.
  2. The second and arguably most important step in capturing a new market is to develop the capacity and ability to cater to a larger set of customers. This entails creating the facilities required for new orders as well as having staff that can shift with the company’s new direction and thrive in a more dynamic environment. If we cannot manage the new stress this endeavor will bring, we must look internally and build up our foundations to support this new load before we can look outward.
  3. Knowledge is key! There are many different laws on how business should be handled outside of Alberta. This can include taxes, how importing and exporting goods across borders will affect you, and if there are any restrictions with your products in that environment to just name a few. While Access Prosperity and our International Business Development (IBD) Program will without a doubt be a great resource to gather information on new markets from and hear advice of veterans to the process, already having an idea of what you want to sell, where, and what differences you will need to be aware of can be an invaluable advantage in speeding up the progression of your expansion hassle free.
  4. Our concluding tip in prepping to break into a new area of the world is the ability to capture your target markets attention and be able to distinguish yourselves from the rest. In a word, your company needs “polish”. A smoothly running website is becoming a near necessity for businesses.  If people can’t find a reason to visit your store with the convenience we are used to, you may find difficulties in gaining new supporters. Having professionally done marketing martials, quick and easy online support, and an exterior finish that shows you are a company that is capable and can be trusted, will prove to be vital assets in your mission of expansion to new markets.

It can be challenging to expand your business and can understandably seem like a scary step for some but with any luck, this list has given you the courage to start the groundwork needed.  You may have even decided to get outside help with the process of making your company able to grow, by getting in touch with us!  While this is not a comprehensive list of everything that you will need in order to grow and succeed, hopefully this will put you on the right track to plan for the future and bring your enterprise to the next level.

Garrett Griffin
Practicum Student
Central Alberta: Access Prosperity