How to leverage technology and business resources to expand your boating business and sell in international markets
These days, if you manufacture, distribute or sell a product (for just about any industry) there is really no reason why it should be limited to local markets within your borders. A global business strategy can help you reach more customers, mitigate regional market fluctuations and build a stronger brand in your industry.
The boating industry is a prime example of how a global strategy can pay off big. Recreational boating is definitely a worldwide passion. Business opportunities for marine products that improve the enjoyment or function of boating can transcend borders and cultures.
OEMs, equipment suppliers, distributors and other marine businesses are recognizing that there is great potential for growing market share abroad.
Developing a Global Go-to-Market Strategy
Personally, I have had a lot of experience dealing with international business endeavors prior to starting the SureShade business (along with degrees in international business and marketing), and there was never a doubt in my mind that the global boating market would be instrumental to our business growth. So when SureShade launched our marine sunshade product to the boating industry it was a natural move for us to accept and pursue orders outside of the U.S.
As the U.S. boating market faced some tough years with the economic downturn, we were able to keep our business moving forward with a good flow of projects abroad. In addition to pursuing U.S. projects, SureShade was working with dealers in places like Curacao, Puerto Rico, Bahamas and Australia, as well as builders in countries like Italy, Estonia and Dubai (basically anywhere the sun was shining and boating was thriving).
We figured, boating is global… sun is global… and therefore a need for shade is global too. We were going to make our product available to as many countries as possible to boost our initial growth.
Leveraging Technology for Global Business
Focusing on so many countries during our early days may sound overly ambitious to some, but our international business growth was actually easier than one might think. Today’s technology advances and resources make it easier than ever to conduct business globally.
- Communication – gone are the days of faxing documents and expensive international phone calls. With the advent of PCs and email, communication is so much easier. International calling plans, VoIP services and the proliferation of cell phone technology no longer make phone calls a financial burden.
- Engineering software – new design and engineering software makes it possible for virtual design collaboration with builders, manufacturers or clients worldwide. For SureShade, we’re able to incorporate our shade design into new boat designs all over the world without having to leave the desk.
- Payments – sending and receiving payments used to be a long detailed process with letters of credit and currency issues. Now international wire transfers are much more efficient.
- Logistics – technology has given rise to logistics companies that streamline the shipping process and make shipping even larger package (like our sunshade systems) cost-effective.
At the end of the day – regardless of where you live – you want a good product. And if you offer a good product, technology makes it easier to provide and service that product anywhere in the world.
Today, SureShade remains committed to this global growth strategy, recently announcing our approval for marine sunshade patents in Europe and China (in addition to U.S. patents) to maintain our competitive position abroad.
What is your global growth plan, and how does technology help you in the global boating market?
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