It’s a well known fact that sourcing products from overseas is a great way to cut costs and gain a competitive advantage (if you want to know more on this subject, read our blog 4 Reasons Why Overseas Suppliers Benefit Your Small Business). Similarly, widening your scope to include customers from other countries can help your small business grow.
But it’s also true that going global comes at a cost. Foreign exchange rates, shipping costs, export-import regulations, and different standards can all cause headaches to small business owners, not to mention working with business partners from unfamiliar cultures. (If you need help negotiating cultural differences, check out our international business guides.)
However, the benefits clearly outweigh the costs, especially if you know how to take shortcuts. Read our tips to help you save money while growing your small business’ global presence.
1. Do Your Research
Before ordering your supplies, research your options. Is there a country that’s particularly adept at manufacturing specific goods? Does a certain region have a competitive advantage over others? Is there a producer that offers great deals? Are there any import regulations or tariffs levied on your supplies?
These are just a few questions you should ask yourself before making up your mind. When you’ve found a supplier, negotiate a deal. Our comprehensive business guides are an excellent source of information that can help prepare you for international negotiations.
If you’re exporting your goods, why not “export” inessential business tasks as well? Outsourcing various business operations to international contractors helps you cut costs and keeps your workforce flexible.
Whether you need workers on a project basis, or as a more permanent solution, hiring offshore professionals is a cost-effective way to acquire international talent, especially if you’re outsourcing tasks to countries with lower wages than the US.
Having a team of international experts at your disposal allows you to approach periodic tasks with flexibility and solves all your staffing issues. If you’re thinking about outsourcing tasks to international professionals, check out our article How to Find, Train, and Manage Offshore Workers.
3. Buy in Bulk
Buying larger quantities has many advantages. First of all, ordering more supplies allows you to negotiate a better price per unit. And since transportation costs are typically the same regardless of the amount of supplies you ship (within a given limit, of course), buying more will cost you less in the long run.
Buying more will cost you less in the long run
And what if you don’t need such a large quantity of supplies?
4. Team up With Partners
Reach out to your network to see if any of your business partners are considering importing the same supplies, or shipping goods from the same region. Teaming up with partners can help you reduce transportation costs, share risks, split supplies, and even negotiate better prices.
However, if you go down this route, make sure to set up a clear division of responsibilities between you and your business partners. You don’t want to duplicate some tasks while ignoring others.
5. Automate Processes
Importing and exporting requires a lot of paperwork, not to mention the myriad of tasks you need to stay on top of while shipping your goods. Keeping everything in mind is almost impossible.
There are many softwares that help you with managing your inventory, warehousing, tracking your shipments and more
Luckily, you don’t need to. There are many softwares that help you with managing your inventory, warehousing, tracking your shipments and more. This saves you time, money, and manpower. Platforms like NetSuite, Apprise ERP,ShippersEdge, MercuryGate, or Infoplus are a few examples of softwares small businesses like to use
6. Use Smart Payment Options
Sending international wire transfers the traditional way (i.e. through banks) is a time-consuming and costly operation. Banks charge various fees (many of them hidden until they show up on your account), offer less than fair foreign exchange rates and can’t tell you exactly when your funds will arrive.
Why not give Veem a chance? Veem is the next generation B2B payments platform. Due to a unique multi-rail technology, Veem allows you to send international payments quickly, securely, and as easily as sending an email.
Veem charges no wire fees and offers competitive foreign exchange rates. By creating a direct connection between sender and recipient, Veem cuts out the middlemen and thus eliminates hidden costs and unexpected delays.
Plus, Veem allows you to track all your payments through your personal dashboard. What’s not to love?
Sign up for a free Veem account and reduce the costs of your global payments.