What is export potential and where is it in a small company?

Kosovo is an import centric economy and possesses foreign trade deficit unbalanced with a small export performance. The cure for overcoming this structural problem of the country’s economy can only be the effective involvement on Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) on the export activities. In order to achieve this target export potential of the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) in Kosovo must be improved.

No enterprise is able to start exporting instantly without doing nothing. Export potential is the result of some interrelated activities to build up the export talent within the company. Some of the major talents in a small enterprise are as follows:

  • Existence of an infrastructure within the company,
  • Advanced product/service line and respective quality,
  • Foreign market research and marketing efforts,
  • The professionalism needed for foreign trade within the management structure of the small company.

One of the main indicators of export potential is the existence of a reliable infrastructure within the company. The simplest point to look for under the infrastructure topic is the ability of foreign language or having at least a person in the company with this ability. Having a staff or manager in a small company is an asset. The most advanced talent of a small company is to have a department for foreign trade. But we are not talking about the import talent of the company. Of course, it is a positive achievement as for the export knowledge, but we need more small companies with export talent in Kosovo. There is another point to mention as for the export potential which is having promotional material. The digital channels are the most important promotional course in this regard. Having a comprehensive WEB Site with some foreign language support is a good asset for a small company. If the company is using social media for export purposes, it is the “jewel on the crown”. In addition to the digital means of course a small company should have some printed material like company brochures and product catalogs. And they can also be incorporated into the WEB Site. It is also worth to mention the knowledge on the legislation both for Kosovo and the target countries.

In order for a small company to start exporting, it should have some products/services for selling in Kosovo with some superiority in the competition. But it should be kept in mind when it comes to exporting some specific rules and standards may be acquired for some sectors and regions. A small company owner/manager should explore the necessities in the target countries and compare them with its own products/services. These necessities might be some compliance issues with the standards or specific dimension requirements, etc. There may be some additional rules and regulations imposed on the products/services.

Small companies should first get used to potential export markets and then run some marketing activities in the market. The most practical way of doing this is to either participate or visit the fairs. The pandemics put some hindering effects on this issue but there emerged some digital fairs for nearly each sector. There are global trade statistics on foreign trade. A small company owner/manager should be aware of these figures and should possess a knowledge on how to get that information. This information is valuable for determining the potential markets and then turning them into target markets. Once a small company sets its target markets it is the time for making some market research. There may be some supports and subsidies for all these activities. Small companies should also keep tracking the existence of such support programs.

Foreign trade needs more professionalism then running a business for domestic market (particularly when you try to do it with developed economies like EU) as for the management system of a company. On time delivery is the most frequent problem in this issue. Small companies should strengthen their products/services quality and their knowledge on customer relations, planning and international contracts/Incoterms.

This is the end of the article for a quick road map of a small company on developing its export skills and talent. Hope this will help for our small companies’ contribution to the national export performance.

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