Exporting for Success

Exporting for success

Have you heard? Last month, a global research study showed that Singapore SMEs which export have the highest average revenue. Are you already part of this statistic?

The Dilemma

As an SME in Singapore, it can be intimidating to think of expansion. This has never been more true than in today’s challenging economic environment – the risks are difficult to consider when trying to ride out the less-than-stellar economy is already a daily struggle.

In fact, in a survey conducted last year, only 2% of 969 SMEs and 162 large companies polled had undergone a major restructuring in the past 12 months to prepare for digital disruption. SME bosses cited the strain of trying to stay afloat each day as a roadblock to investments.

Yet with tightening purse strings at home, it’s probably a good time to look beyond our sunny shores.

The Statistics

In the study commissioned by FedEx Express, local SMEs that export were found to generate US$2.21 million in export revenue per year on average, compared to the global average of US$1.5 million.

Exporting revenues made up as much as 87% of the SMEs’ overall revenue. If your company isn’t exporting, you might be settling for just 13% of your profit potential – that’s about 670% growth you could be missing out on.

Further, investing in innovation without the aim to export will result in your investments running below capacity. Commonwealth Capital Managing Director Andrew Kwan says of his company’s S$70 million investment in a new facility, “If we are just looking at the Singapore market, a facility like this will not be very utilised or be able to capture its full potential.

Reaching the Overseas Market Without Stepping Out


Even SMEs who choose not to export know the importance and profit potential of eCommerce. Reaching a new business market no longer requires your physical presence – you only need an online presence, an eCommerce solution, and a way to ship your items over to your customers worldwide.

While there are plenty of eCommerce options for B2C businesses, there are fewer options catering specifically to B2B businesses, and even fewer that are perfectly integrated with your ERP solution.

Working with SAP Business One gives you a few ideal options to choose from, whether you operate in the B2B or B2C space (to learn more, speak to a member of the team).

Still, many believe that setting up and eCommerce platform may be complicated – such as Mr Toh Kok Swee, chief executive of Tai Wah Distributors, who says, Until you develop a substantial global market presence, building such a substantial website with different language capabilities and offering local prices and delivery does not make any sense for us.”

Encouragingly, Tai Wah has since set up a webshop following Mr Toh’s statement published on 30 December 2016.

Online Marketplaces

Investing time and money into setting up your own webstore can be a daunting process for first-timers, so creating an online presence via a marketplace platform is a good way to test the water first.

There are a number of well-known platforms such as eBay, Amazon, Lazada, Qoo10, Alibaba, and even Etsy, which caters to unique handicrafts.

There are even simpler ways to sell your products online without having to hand over a cut to a middleman or going through complicated processes. Singapore-based mobile app Carousell allows you to sell your products straight from your phone with just a few simple steps.

If you are more familiar with social media, setting up shop on Instagram, Facebook, or even Livejournal, WordPress, and Blogger, are all great options. In fact, the term “blogshop” was most likely coined in Singapore due to the popularity of these blog-based shops.

In 2011 alone, sales in Singapore via Livejournal were estimated to generate S$8 million a month. Examples of blogshop successes include Love Bonito, Tracyeinny, and Love and Bravery.

What about services and software?

When people think of webshops, they usually think in terms of selling physical items such as clothes or gadgets and stationery, but often forget that even services can be sold over the internet.

Of course, services that require physical contact such as a massage or manicure cannot be transmitted online (yet). But there are plenty of other services that can in fact be provided.

For example, Fiverr has a great range of services listed by its users (over 3 million!), including marketing (e.g. logo and banner designs, SEO), writing (copywriting, legal writing), and even business services (presentations, consulting).

Software and mobile apps can also be sold electronically through app stores without much hassle, and we have also covered the possibility of providing supporting services for eCommerce activities.

Note: This story has also been adapted for publication in Steemit.

With so many opportunities to venture abroad, are you ready to take that next step? Let’s talk! Book a free consultation with us to see how we can help.

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