Starting up an export business isn’t easy. This is even more difficult abroad. One country where you may think of setting one up is Qatar. The world’s richest little country is planning to reduce its dependence on food imports and is open to export more. So how do you do it? Well, before you look for export financing and pour all your money into the business, you need to spot the opportunities first.
Research the Qatari market
What are Qatar’s main exports? Who are its main export partners? The answer to the former is liquefied natural gas (LNG), fertilizers, steel, and, as you’d imagine, petroleum products. Regarding the latter, these are Japan and South Korea, followed by India and Singapore.
Researching this can help you decide what products you’d like to export. You should also check if you’ll need a license to export them. To export medical products, for instance, you need to have a license.
Check the Qatari trade directories
Trade directories are an invaluable source of information. As well as a list of other companies in the trade — who will either be your competitors or people or companies you will work with —these directories give you an overview of the economy, future government plans, foreign trade, and financial regulations.
Visit national and international trade fairs
Trade fairs are a great research opportunity. There you can learn about what’s hot or not, or what could be, in the international trade world. Businesses will showcase products that other entrepreneurs may wish to export or import. These include cars or car parts, electronics, furniture, clothing, toys, perfumes, oil, or musical instruments. Business forums and seminars also hold golden opportunities for you to promote your business.
They’re also a chance for startups or smaller companies to find potential investors, so visit one and get networking. Chat to people in the know and exchange a few business cards.
Think about business partners
One thing you should consider is Qatari business law. In Qatar, foreign companies wishing to set up in Qatar must partner with a Qatari national or business, who will own the majority share of the business. Choose one who has plenty of contacts, which will help bring in more revenue.
Another thing you must take into account is who you’ll work with. An export manager can help you promote your product(s) abroad. Normally, export managers work on commission, but some may be willing to work on a contract. You may also want to work with an export merchant. These are independent contractors who buy your products from you directly and then sell them to other countries. Again you should think about their contacts and how much business they can bring in.
In international trade there are opportunities aplenty. Every country is a potential market. You just need to know how to spot the opportunities. By focusing on each country’s import and export markets, you can see what’s in demand, and by visiting trade fairs you can look for potential investors, learn more about the market, and, better still, market your product. Best of luck with your venture!