Saturday, June 9, 2012

Export Broker: Building your Network of Trust

 Exporting can be complicated.  Fortunately if you are like me you picked the least complicated position in the export/import industry, being an export agent/broker. Our friends doing distribution or manufacturing require much more time and capital to get their businesses of the ground. We focus on the deal, as long as you have a penchant for getting two parties together and completing a deal you have a good foundation for being an export agent.  Most experts on the subject start with the same basic advice, find a good product and try to find a buyer for the product abroad, all for a commission. Although this is sound advice it is not as easy to find a "good" product to export, or for that matter a manufacturer that is willing to let you try to sell their product abroad. 

I do not suggest that you should deviate from this advice, finding a good product to export IS the best way to complete a deal but this other advice might be helpful as well.

1. Plan for your venture to take time. Exporting is all about building relationships. It is difficult to find a manufacturer that will trust you with a product because they want someone they can "trust".  Exporting is a difficult business with many pitfalls, building and maintaining that trust is essential and it takes time.

2. Plan to take even more time building your network.  Your network is the basis of your "sourcing". In a business where trust is key your network is the way to get your trust noticed. In exporting, word of mouth still counts. Spending the time to get to know others in the industry and try to carve your own niche will yield results.

So there it is, being an exporting agent is more than just having the right product. It requires building the trust and creating a network to support your business.

As always your comments are always welcomed,