By: First Union
Import-Export Businesses in the Time of COVID19
Forbes reported that the Import-Export trade could get close to $1 Trillion this year. Staggering numbers for the industry, but with many borders closed, what can you do? Remember why you started your business in the first place. The Import-Export industry can be a rewarding thing to be a part of. You get to meet people from all over the world and gain the ability to transport products you are passionate about from around the globe. Businesses like these make international trade possible, which encourages economic growth, which will be much-needed to bring the economy back to its feet. Such an incremental business needs to be able to withstand tough times like we are experiencing right now. Adopt a plan of action to ensure your Import-Export business stays strong during border shutdowns we are seeing in relation to COVID-19, and come out stronger on the other side.
Lean On Your Industry Relationships
If you have been in the business for a while, you have surely made some meaningful relationships with people you work with. Now is the time to call in those allies. If you are working with imports from other countries, your relationship with those suppliers could prove valuable. Keep in touch with them and make sure you are both ready to move when operations pick back up. You have a unique opportunity to gain insight from connections around the world. If you don't yet have these relationships, then seeking them out should be your first step in growth. Now is a great time to do a little networking while everyone has some down-time. A good place to start looking for industry connections is Linkedin. You can connect with other business owners and suppliers around the globe. While you build these relationships it is important to keep in mind the different cultures that you will be communicating with. Maybe for you, now is the time to dive into another culture so you can adequately make connections in an area you have been looking at for a while. Make sure you understand how to respectfully communicate before reaching out and take some time to do research. Another great way to build industry relationships right now is Facebook groups. Since more people are home and spending time online Facebook groups are booming and there is one for every niche. You can gain connections and first-hand industry knowledge.
Focus On the Future
The future will begin to look up for the Import-Export business, and the industry will pick back up growth. The most important thing an owner of such a company can do right now is prepare for the future. You already know that marketing your particular business is all about selling yourself. You have to market yourself to the client as someone who can manage the transportation of their goods to foreign shores, and make a profit, then you have to sell the actual product to distributors. So, work on refining your sales pitch. If you have any wear area where you feel like you can use some improvement now is the time to hone those skills. You can read books and watch videos on the subject you need to focus most on and come out of this with new strengths.
In this downtime, you can go back to the basics. Work on strengthening your network and start to make plans with prospective clients for when things start back up again, then you can dive right back in and be ahead of the game. Look for those people in your target countries, go back to cold calling if you have to, and make plans for the future.
Revise Your Marketing Plan
Many people are sitting at home right now, cleaning out the drawers that they never had time to before. You can do your own version of this by revising your marketing plan. Surely things will not be the same when the market starts back up and we begin to recover from the COVID-19 damage. There is no telling how people will act, or want to spend money in the wake of it all. Restaurants may be allowed to operate again, but will people flock to them or stay tentatively away for a while? The same can be said for the Import-Export industry. People will be wading slowly back into these economic waters. But, the businesses who plan for this reality will come out on top. If you suspect it will be a slow start, you can be ahead of the game. Predict the client's concerns. Assure them that you have already thought and planned for whatever concern they may have. Extra sanitation efforts? You got it. Contingency plan for another global pandemic? Way ahead of you. This way you can ease any hesitation. There is no road-map for this kind of market plan. But, a little foresight can go a long way. Now is the time to get creative, and think in ways you never have before.
If you need funds to make sure your Import-Export business can start back up strong, First Union Lending offers a variety of funding options to fit small business owners' needs in today's climate. Build your industry connections, and plan for the future, your Import-Export business has the potential to come back stronger than ever.