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Questionmark.9.thmb.jpg SME exports: Information gap a big deterrent

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Bikky Khosla | 28 Aug, 2012
Want to export but don't know how -- this is one of the common challenges that many of our small businesses have to live with. They are willing to take the plunge into exports, but feel crippled when look to reach out to overseas markets first time. They have no experience, and there is a real dearth of information on how to move on. This barrier may easily be overcome by experience, but for newcomers or non-exporters, this is not less difficult than to move a mountain.

Today, it is a well-known fact that small businesses play a significant role in a nation's economy. In India, we have millions of such enterprises, but their contribution to exports is only around 30 percent, and I think we have a vast scope to increase this share significantly by promoting export competitiveness of the sector. This requires -- among many other measures, helping our small and medium enterprises get information on a silver platter.

Here, the government needs to step into a bigger role. Till now, only a feeble effort has been made towards this, so much so that our small entrepreneurs seeking to enter global markets have to run from pillar to post even for such basic information as how to export, what are the licenses required, whom to approach for registration, which channels to use, what are the incentives and schemes of the government, which overseas markets are worth targeting, and so on.

Similarly, making small entrepreneurs aware of various developments and changes in international and domestic trade, market development, taxation, logistics and supply chain management, international payment and transaction, overseas marketing operation, technology transfer, international collaborations and alliances, market research, business management skills, and other related areas is equally important. This could give a much-needed push to make SMEs feel more confident about entering global trade.

I think the government should undertake massive awareness programmes on the issue across the country. We need one-stop platforms that can serve all-round information needs of SMEs from diverse industrial segments; we need mechanisms that can keep SMEs in relevant sectors informed round-the-clock about opportunities across the world; we need dedicated agencies that can offer hands-on help to SMEs to move on international trade.

All these may sound an impossible dream, but these days, particularly in the background of the ongoing economic slowdown, in country after country we are seeing governments launching such initiatives to encourage more and more SMEs join the export bandwagon. We can do this too. This is a big challenge, but if we rise over it, we will get millions of new SMEs exporting, and this will surely help our economy embark on a successful global expansion drive. 
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good hit on the failure of Indian govt.. w.r.t MSME
Parul Sharda | Thu Jan 24 07:48:14 2013
hi..good to read this article..this is how i also think..iam doing p.hD on MSMEs export potential.. but i find it more challenging when i look the unawarness of entrepreneurs..abt the facilities govt. is providing, and the lack of knowledge abt exporting the MSMEs products...

Consultants for Starting Exports
Prateek Jain | Sun Dec 30 07:56:23 2012
Dear Sir, Can you please advice more consultants/ companies, who can help us starting the exports right from the scratch.

How to export polyester and nylon based fabrics
Sanjay Patel | Fri Sep 28 11:16:12 2012
We are manufacturer of all kinds of polyester and nylon based fabrics.we are interested in export our product in global market, but I don't know how to export. So please give all information subject to overseas market and export policy.

  Re: How to export polyester and nylon based fabrics
Naveen chillal | Fri Nov 30 17:29:48 2012
Sir, we also manufacturer of cotton fabric from Bangalore; we have also faced same problem. I think we to get together, assemble one place, discuss to solve the problem and also I think take advise from expert. Pl call me 9448181912 or mail :

Help for Indian SMEs looking to export to the US (or import from there)
Anand | Thu Sep 13 06:21:31 2012
A friend of mine has established a business that specializes in advising and helping Indian SMEs to export to and import from the US (and also American SMEs to export to and import from India). This company can help you identify customers for your products and then, assist with validating how genuine they are. They can also provide advice on contract negotiations, managing risks, complying with procedures etc. They have tie-ups with logistics providers and so they can even help with shipping your products to/from the US. They have people on the ground both in India and the US, which makes it easy for you to contact them. After all, speaking to a human is so much more reassuring than leaving a voice mail or sending an email, is it not? For more details and to explore how they can potentially be of service to you, visit Thank you.

Co operative Marketing for Success in International Trade
Rajesh Khandelwal | Wed Sep 12 15:19:40 2012
I feel that the Government should encourage co operative marketing efforts so that we do not waste precious foreign exchange in re inventing the wheel again and again when some MSME wants to start export business. When I worked overseas for almost 10 years, I came across various opportunities for export of Indian products, but always the response from Indian Manufacturers was not at all encouraging, they had very stiff terms for allowing me to market their products abroad. I have noted all across the world that if at all a new exporter is cheated internationally it is always by a fellow Indian and not a foreign client! Another point that I have noted that the fierce competition in trade and livelihood back home in India makes Indians fight Indian abroad, most of the times they always want to pull down the rising star in their business by what ever means possible. Indian MSMEs are slow to accept customers branding on the products, very slow to customize products for the focus markets and not at all inclined to design the primary packages suitable for international markets. Lucrative local trades is another point which forces budding exporters to first exhaust the local markets. Many more problems which are self made and not cautioned by the Trade guild. All export chambers have self serving aims in promoting the interests of the association heads companies private business.

SME exports
aditya somani | Sat Sep 8 06:09:43 2012
Please provide me the guidelines to enter the exports in textile industry.I am into production of textiles product and want to go for the global selling of my products

  Re: SME exports
Bikky Khosla | Tue Sep 11 12:59:50 2012

The first thing you need is an Importer-Exporter Code (IEC) certificate, which is issued by DGFT – Director General of Foreign Trade , Ministry of Commerce. Documents to be submitted include request letter, filled in application form, bank certificate, photographs, PAN card, etc. You may also apply online. Details about the application process are given on the DGFT website

 Secondly, you need to look for buyers in overseas markets. Do a little bit of online research and you will get a fair bit of idea regarding where to search for them. Being a B2B portal member, participating in trade fairs, etc. usually help a lot.

Thirdly, whenever a foreign buyer approaches you, insist on credit-rating report. It will minimize credit related risks. Use reliable payment method for transaction, and before signing a contract, try to find out all relevant costs including shipping costs, import duties, taxes, etc. Sort out exactly what costs you and your client are each responsible for.

Market research is always helpful. It will help you learn your product's potential in a given market. As you are a first time exporter, narrow your focus initially and concentrate only 2/3 best prospects. Do some online research and try to collect country/industry specific market information. This will assist to identify promising markets for your product.

SHIV SHARAN KUMAR | Wed Sep 5 13:30:07 2012

Export of Agro Chemicals
Sachindra Chandra Dutta Banik | Wed Sep 5 08:03:52 2012
We are trying since last 2 years for international business. But failed to secure a single order. We will be obliged for your help for the steps to be followed by us. With regards, Sachindra Chandra Dutta Banik for SAMPURNA Proprietor

Govt. should do but govt wont do. So lets talk about things that the SMEs can do.
Arup | Wed Sep 5 06:03:26 2012
The solutions offered, puts the entire onus on the Govt. and we know that thats not going to work. So lets talk of the forums/organizations/groups that the SMEs can leverage/reach out to to export their goods.

SMEs Exort
Balasaheb Kolaki | Fri Aug 31 17:48:56 2012
You have raised a question but not answered how to do it. Please explain how to do it.

  Re: SMEs Exort
B.K. Rajdeep | Sat Sep 1 05:38:41 2012
Dear Kolaki, I wish you read the 3rd, 4th, 5th paragraph. They talk about solutions, solutions and solutions.

Sujit Kumar | Fri Aug 31 07:45:05 2012
Good & interesting, continue it for the sake of SMEs development in India. Sujit.

Excellent article in today's context
R.Seshadrinathan,Essquare Solutions, 91 99400 12920 | Thu Aug 30 08:25:02 2012
Excellent article in today's context. SME's today face such problems as it is with their own business today that it would be a blessing in disguise if they know more about export as well. One of the reasons which made me take a related activity of taking the SME's beyond frontiers, an activity even before they get to know about export regulations. They also have to know about how to present themselves to prospects abroad and also have their company presented well for the prospects look at them.

SME Exports
Hu Manly | Thu Aug 30 08:13:50 2012
The nations of South East Asia, rely on India for their goods, others now rely on China, because China had parallel manufacturing facilities to the USA. As an export expert we believe Indian SMEs' need, to begin with providing parts to others, existing equipment, such as autos, trucks, air conditioners,boilers, lawn mowers, x-ray machines, mixers,blenders and ovens. In that way existing overseas businesses will welcome India's products and use them.

About export
Kamlesh | Thu Aug 30 07:17:52 2012
I want to export start export.

Government biggest hurdle
Rob Grosche | Thu Aug 30 07:05:07 2012
India's government is the biggest hurdle small SME's have. China has EMS- making a profit and re-investing it to subsidize small exporters, by offering $4 boxed to almost anywhere in the world. In Indian this costs nearly $50 to ship the same. It is shameful that India disadvantages its own SMEs.

Need to know right trade intelligence solution provider
Prashant | Wed Aug 29 16:09:39 2012
Million dollar question for any SME or exporter is to whom I can do export. As distance is a big factor and of course reliability of a buyer is also important. Here exporters should check for trade intelligence report provided by several agencies. Some of them are free while one has to pay for some reports. Ideally trade intelligence report is prepared from bill of lading data as provided/sold by American and Latin American countries like Chile, Peru, Columbia, Argentina, Ecuador. contains good insights about honey export possibility

Untangle regulations and controls on exports
Gerardo Vazquez | Wed Aug 29 14:12:47 2012
Excellent article. I would like to suggest that the biggest help the government can provide is to untangle its own regulations and controls on exports. In other words, get out of the way so that it is not so difficult for SMEs to export.

SME exports
Swarna Latha | Wed Aug 29 12:28:42 2012
Yes! I throughly agree with the fact that lack of information is a deterrent for those who want to enter the export market and the most practical solution appears to have a one stop office where all the required information is made available

Rajesh Daga | Wed Aug 29 11:48:08 2012
As we all know there is a lacuna or in fact big lacuna in this export sector by SME. Trade India has opportunity to encash it by providing a platform/consultancy to the SME enterprises. I don't think people like me will not be agree to pay for it, overall its your business. Many info is available on internet, but basic problem persists like database, authenticity of buyers, language issues, legal formalities of buyer country, export finance as volume is big, logistic rates, insurance of the goods, FOR/FOB prices discrimination. When a small SME see such a plethora of problems, it convinces itself to engage efforts in domestic market only same as mile nahi to angoor khatte. Once you enter it, you come to know that volume can be generated only in exports and this volume can help in cost reduction of your products for you domestic market too. This all I can say as per my experience, as I wished to enter export market, but forced to serve domestic market due to above mentioned problems.

Pri | Fri Aug 31 06:09:20 2012
That's an amazing experience Sir, I am an absolute fresher but wish to enter the international market with high vision towards it, to get a base and a real foundation I am working for a firm.If you could help me with SME concrete ways to stiffen this foundation it cud help me fly. I wish you all the best. God bless 918652658645 (

How to start export
Nilesh Ozarkar | Wed Aug 29 11:47:37 2012
Appreciate your article and the point raised. We belong to SME facing the same big question mark i.e. HOw to start an export. It would be of great help if you provide us the pointers to look into. Thanks for the efforts - Tasty Foodie Network

Information paralysis/policy paralysis in export and import
Puneet | Wed Aug 29 07:25:28 2012
Sir, glad you touch the cord.The problem we are facing of how to go forward in export for a small entrepreneur is the same for exports also.To depend on when govt will take action is useless. I think pvt institutions should come forward with more emphasis on practicality than theory. Irrespective of person qualification or education, institutes should give practical training as well as paper work and other govt obligation involved. Lot of people are there who are not well-educated or qualified but have courage to go forward and show to the world that they can also deliver world-class products and services. But due to lack of practical and govt procedures, they are unable to do so and land in wrong hands of 'dalals' and end up in losses. It not only discourages ones morale but financial implications involved cripples them. I can say with confidence once the common and small businessman is involved in the growth story of India, all will see the real potential of India. I hope such subjects come to some conclusion as we have courage but lack of policy and clarity on quality of institutions is lacking. Thanks for giving me opportunity to put my views forward.

Need information on agencies
Mr. Mayur | Wed Aug 29 05:47:01 2012
We are a leading manufacturer and marketer of wood preservatives and a wide range of veterinary products too. We are looking out for export ventures as marketing in India is not so attractive. If you could suggest us regarding such agencies we shall be grateful. Regards.

Door Opening
Hargovind | Wed Aug 29 04:55:41 2012
Soft Government strategy with financial support to real export objective projects only can promote the role of Indian SME. We have enough knowledge banks and resources but with tight constraints and loose protection, things have turned very difficult. 

  Re: Door Opening
Rajesh | Wed Aug 29 07:17:53 2012
Of course, there are 'enough' knowledge base, but the problem is that most small firms are not aware of them. We need to make them aware, we need a single platform for user-friendliness.

Open information centres
Mandar Adhav | Wed Aug 29 03:41:55 2012
The Govt. should open info,. centres at district level. Short-term (15-20 days) practical training courses should be offered. At present these courses are available in metro cities like Mumbai only.

Radhika | Wed Aug 29 02:35:21 2012
Every Traders Training is required.

Totally agree
Sarvesh Mishra | Tue Aug 28 17:03:17 2012
I totally agree with the post, even my industry wants to export but being a SME we don't have any idea about it.

  Re: Totally agree
Sujit | Fri Aug 31 07:54:42 2012
Contact me Sujit Kumar singh 9727679381 in Gujarat.

Be open for trainings
P.S.Satish,Saraswati Industrial Services, Bangalore, 9845043202 | Tue Aug 28 15:23:44 2012
Very well articulated. Apart from seeking support from government, SMEs should focus on being more professional and open for trainings. Need to change mindset to think big and believing that you have whole world as market. Export should be a strategic objective of the company and not as a point to tide over domestic recession.

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