When you’re running a service business abroad as I do, you can’t afford to become complacent. You must stay focused and committed to your service plan. Don’t let your service offering ever become commonplace. Always work at becoming better and better at what you’re doing. And be prepared to take aggressive measures to establish and protect your business presence. The following eight strategies are essential:
- Specialize, specialize, specialize. Find a type of service only you can deliver, enter a single market, and deliver it with a vengeance. Even if your customers have never heard of your service, make sure they see how they’ll benefit from it. Don’t just keep pace; be ahead of your time and ahead of the pack.
- Secure sufficient working capital to keep you operating over the long haul.
- Once you have staked out your territory, get the quickest, most extensive marketing exposure you can (reach out to key influencers—bloggers, Twitterers, and Facebookers alike who carry a huge fan base—via social media platforms).
- Use technology and rapid, inexpensive communications (e-mail, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest) to your optimal marketing advantage.
- Do whatever it takes to protect your copyright, trademark, or other intellectual property related to your service package.
- Even if your core business is helping clients export products, like mine is, consider developing a multifaceted export package involving both product and service components.. This will enable you to create cost efficiencies and immeasurable added value for your customer.
- Once you have a hot export product and a customer lined up, take it a step further and offer your other resource: a marketing campaign geared to the local market to jump start your customer’s sales of your product! Sound complicated? Sure, it will take some more R&D, but it will give you the creative edge you’ll need to keep ahead of the competition and move freely within the world economy of the future.
- Don’t forget about profitability. The biggest hurdle is usually that. Choose a business model that will work in the real world, move fast, and monitor the inflow of money. You want to dominate the market, before your competitors do. When you are burning cash, you are at the mercy of others. When you are not, you are in control of your destiny.
As technology continues to grow, the market for service exports is only going to get bigger—making us all the more responsible and accountable for knowledge outcomes. Countries would benefit from adopting policies that increase service exports, improve productivity, and promote service-export performance. Breaking into export markets is a major achievement, but it’s what you do once you’re there that makes all the difference in whether you’ll be an also-ran or an industry leader. Remember: if you’re working hard on customer service, you’re already a service exporter. See how far you can take it—and how far it can take you.