When the pandemic stroke, many commentators warned that that was the end of globalization. As countries closed their borders to contain the virus, the idea was that we would not have been back at the pre-pandemic open-borders economy.
Yet, the global supply is more interconnected than ever. If anything, small constraints such as container prices and a shortage of microchips are showing that the global supply chain cannot be broken.
With a global demand expected to be strong as the world recovers from the crisis, small and medium businesses (SMEs) should take advantage of the opportunity to find new markets outside their domestic economy.
Here are three tools that SMEs can use to find new partners abroad.
The exhibitions business has been hit hard last year. Few things are as crowded as a business exhibition; therefore, it was impossible to keep people safe and the entire industry shut down for a year.
Yet, the very reason why it shut down is why SMEs should use this old but still effective medium: network effects. Exhibitions usually focus on the most important cities of a given countries, occur just a few times a year (sometimes even once), and concentrate all the people interested in a certain sector in one place.
The Milan furniture exhibition which takes place in April is a good example of that.
The only drawback is that exhibitions are expensive, and it takes time to get ready for them, but they are worth the hustle.
During the pandemic we have all become more digitalized, as this was the only way to survive. It is normal now for most businesses to carry on their trade online.
B2B marketplaces are online platforms where SMEs can offer their products and sell them wherever they get orders. Usually, these websites are based in emerging economies such as China or India, which gather the legions of suppliers that have grown in those countries during the last three decades.
Yet there is nothing against doing the opposite, i.e. that a Korean of Indonesian buyer looks for a German or Italian supplier.
The most famous marketplaces are Alibaba, Global Sources, Thomasnet, to name a few.
B2B Matchmaking Platforms
Finding a customer is a great thing, but finding a client is even better. Once upon a time, SMEs used to go through Chambers of Commerce or other intermediaries to find a distributor, now they can just do it through a matchmaking platform.
These online portals are a great tool for both exporters and importers, and they work in this way: rather than posting the single product, a company can post a business opportunity, stating who they are, what they do, where they want to do business and who they are looking for.
In this way, the potential partner can connect to the opportunity knowing already what the other company is looking for. Deals close faster and more easily than by going through an intermediary, as matchmaking platforms can leverage their large network effects to bring to the same place a massive number of businesses.