4 tips to sell your services internationally

John Whelan, AIB’s export expert, writes John Whelan, which offers exporters comprehensive international opportunities, but the number of small businesses selling their services overseas is inadequate.

The demand for services in the international market has grown twice as fast in the last decade as the demand for goods. Here in Ireland, we have benefited more than ever from this global trend: exports of services quadrupled from 13 billion euros in 2000 to 101 billion last year. By comparison, exports of finished goods (including agri-food) have not even kept up with inflation over the same period. They rose last year by only 6% to 89 billion euros.

We are a nation of software-led service providers, followed by financial services, aircraft leasing and maritime transportation and related services, engineering, medical, legal, transportation and related services. Education, training, sport and recreation. make her mark

While we have access to a range of services around the world, we have only a handful of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Last year, only 7% of our service exports came from SMEs, 93% from multinational exporters in Ireland.

Enterprise Ireland is very aware of the difference in performance and has made it a priority to help companies sell their services internationally. The EU recognizes that the same problem exists across Europe, and the Junker Commission has announced that as part of the solution, a true digital market will be created across the EU.

If you plan to sell your services internationally, these tips can help you succeed.

1. Not a single economic model
In the services sector, there is a wide range of non-traditional business models and no model can assert itself as the norm. It depends very much on the target group and the way to the market. The fast-growing social media landscape provides immediate and direct access to a broad international audience and often determines the most effective business model to use. The customer is more and more directly involved in the corporate structure, which has been excluded from the traditional management structure. To learn is to set up a management structure tailored to the requirements profile of your customers and to adapt the business model to this structure.

2. The niche is fundamental
For the majority of SMEs planning to enter international markets, failure is almost certain when a “me too” service occurs. Local service providers inevitably have a competitive advantage. A new service with unique features must be the starting point. In the fast-growing world of consumer preferences, there are many niche markets that can be developed commercially. But not all niches are commercially feasible.

There are three ways to create a single service offer:

Develop the new product internally
Bachelor in Technology (Enterprise Ireland can help with this process)
Buy in technology or in the business with the unique service required for market entry.
The lesson to be learned is to find or acquire niche capacities and then begin internationalization.

3. Strategic partnership
Strategic partnerships can take many forms, from simple contractual sales arrangements, through the distribution of each partner’s services, to the development of new service products, with both partners financing R & D. for access to sales and after sales service in targeted low-risk export markets. Being the first player on the market offers a decisive advantage for many new service sectors. However, in a highly networked world, multiple entry in a fast-moving market is often the only way to gain that advantage. If you do not have very large pockets, the Strategic Partnership Path may be the ideal way to move forward, provide economies of scale, and enable in-depth market knowledge.

After considering the pros and cons of a strategic partnership for your business, you need to choose the most appropriate collaborative tool for your business.
Agency contracts are easiest if you want introductions and direct sales activity under your direct guidance. These types of agreements do not include after-sales backups.
Subcontracting is another form of low-exposure partnership where a local operator carries out the job to your specifications.
A distribution agreement concluded with a known organization in your sector in one or more target markets implies greater engagement between two parties. The distribution agreement generally gives the distributor the freedom to define its own pricing structure for the service and covers after-sales services.
Other forms of partnership are:

License – if you have a technology to transfer
Franchising – if you have a proven brand and a business recipe
Joint venture – if you want to run a large market like the German or the Chinese market and you have to meet the needs of important customers.
Successful Irish service exporters have used strategic agreements with foreign companies on a large scale to attract new businesses and enable rapid growth in business growth. Each partnership works best when it benefits both parties and complements the two activities.

Selecting potential partners is a difficult but important part of using partners to expand internationally. However, this is important because it is about your reputation. The wrong partner can ruin the business opportunity. Online resources can be used to identify and select potential partners. However, the most effective solution is to contact Enterprise Ireland or Irish embassies around the world to find reference sources for quality business partners. ,

Once you have entered into a suitable alliance or strategic alliance, both parties must strive to fully understand each partner’s requirements. This then has to be encapsulated in a legally stipulated agreement, which avoids the difficulties due to business roles. Define a partnership agreement that clarifies issues such as accountability, service levels, work plans, decision-making criteria, schedules, and intellectual property. Make sure that all aspects of the relationship are clear and unambiguous. It is important to obtain a legal opinion.

4. Do not ignore the personal network
Professional online networks like LinkedIn are designed to create communities and networking opportunities. Set up your own business profile and invite other people to partner with you.

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