Export Knowhow

Smart resource planning: how can SMEs efficiently organize their teams?

It often applies that the smaller the company is, the less resources it has. Base and new business run side by side, and it can sometimes be challenging to provide enough time and capacity for the core team to build international activities. This particularly applies to companies with small management teams and fewer than fifty employees. How can they use their resources efficiently?

Five people planning in a team meeting

The main responsibility for the project lies with the Executive Committee

The entry into international activities is a strategic project for which the executive committee is responsible and which it must support. To carry out the activities, it is best to entrust technically and commercially adept team members that have some experience in international business in your company's sector, as well as good linguistic and cultural skills and ideally with their own network.

Involve all relevant people, maintain and expand contacts

In order for the cooperation with your foreign business partners to begin smoothly, it is important that the whole team that will be in contact with foreign customers and partners is involved right from the start and participates in establishing and maintaining cooperation.

Increase productivity with digitization

In order to establish processes of international cooperation, it is particularly worthwhile to use the possibilities of digitization for productivity gains – not only for communication and marketing but also for after-sales service and supply chain management via web-based channels. More traditional, technically-focused SMEs still have relatively great potential in this regard.

Initial recommendations for action

  • Define the responsibilities and accountabilities within the team and create the required rooms and capacities. This also applies to employees who are not in direct contact with customers. To develop a foreign market, a main responsible individual should typically be able to deploy half of the work capacity in the first twelve months.
  • Enable the employees entrusted with international business to build up knowledge for trouble-free export. The chamber of commerce in your region offers information and training on technical export issues.

  • Invest in digital communication. Take this opportunity to question the structure, style and content of your communication media, especially the websites of companies and products. Are they up to today's standards? Is new media used in a targeted manner?

The resources in the team have been planned, but where will the necessary financial resources come from? Read the following article about the various export financing services available both inside and outside the company. To the article: “Securing sustainable export financing”

More tips and tricks for export entry can be found in the useful “Export Compact” handbook. Step by step, we will accompany you on your export journey and help you think about all relevant issues. You can download the manual here


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