Are you running a business in or from the Netherlands, and does your product or service have cross-border potential? To find out, you need to do some research first, followed by careful planning and preparation.
Use guides and checklists. A proper checklist helps you consider the most important matters, while a guide enables you to draw up an export plan.
How does exporting fit into your business?
Exporting is not something you do on the side. You must ask yourself whether exporting suits your business. Does it fit into your company mission statement? Does export match your view of the future and the chosen strategy? Are your staff sufficiently educated and motivated?
Write an export plan
An export plan helps to turn your ideas into reality. The Chamber of Commerce provides a template for export plans. You need to answer questions like ‘Why do I want to export?’ ‘Can I handle the production demands?‘ ‘What do I need to do for transport and insurance?’’ ‘Who is my competition?’ The answers to these questions will produce a detailed plan, which you can use as your starting point.
Do market research
Market research is essential to assess whether there is enough interest and whether your export goals can be achieved. You can also commission an external market research company to do part of or all the research for you.
No doubt you have certain ideas about the countries you want to trade with: should they be near the Netherlands, or doesn't it matter? What should the purchasing power per head of the population be? There are many considerations, and only you know which ones are important for you. The Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK) has developed the Export Markets tool, that allows you to set the criteria and their weight, to determine which countries could be of most interest to you.
Compare markets and check country information
Various factors determine which countries have the most suitable markets for your products. Discover the right markets by researching the Netherlands Enterprise Agency’s market information per country (in Dutch) and compare the countries you are interested in on the basis of a number of criteria, for example:
- business opportunities and the market
- the disposable average income of the population
- import tariffs (only outside the European Union)
- product requirements and other rules.
On the Netherlands Enterprise Agency website, you can find further information on international markets, for instance:
- economic predictions
- import and export figures
- foreign investments per product.
There are several options for financing your export plans. For instance, a bank can request a partial government SME loan guarantee. Check the Starters International Business programme. If you are thinking about exporting to developing countries, you can apply to the Dutch Good Growth Fund; and the Dutch government provides assistance to SME exporters to developed countries through the Dutch Trade and Invest Fund. Are you preparing a request for credit and do you want to increase your chances? Contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency for tailor-made financing advice.
Interactive online tool
Try this interactive online tool to check whether your application for financing or export credit insurance is viable in just five minutes. The tool has been created for entrepreneurs with plans to import, export, invest or expand abroad.
Exporting through intermediaries
You can export your product yourself, but you can also make use of intermediaries. The advantages and disadvantages of exporting directly or indirectly depend on your situation, your product and the requirements of the foreign market.
Both the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce offer starting or inexperienced exporting companies support and advice. Get in touch with them if you want to ask for personal help:
Statistics: export development
Export value of total goods from all countries.