From March 12 till March 15, an intensive export workshop cycle took place in Väimela and Valmiera (Latvia). In addition to practically modelling export possibilities, wood and furniture industry entrepreneurs came to the knowledge about opportunities and risks for outsourcing various export-related functions.
Under the guidance of an export consultant entrepreneurs talked about the aspects to take into consideration when trying to start export, as well discussed the diversity of export trading channels and how they differ from the domestic market. Additionally, participants went through their export processes to understand its strengths and weaknesses and received recommendations for existing problems.
One of the speakers, an entrepreneur with several years of experience in export projects, Jakob Saks emphasised that entrepreneurs need to focus more on business, product development and customer relations, while the part of functions that do not directly generate sales but are time-consuming – outsource. In his view, entrepreneurs are primarily thinking of manufacturing, sales and marketing leaving as the next steps, but the well-known truth is that sales are generating revenue. It’s logical to conclude as well that it’s not profitable for a company to hire an in-house employee for tasks that aren’t necessary, for example, intensively or on a daily basis.
Based on this view the practical part of the workshops was devoted to the formulation of specific tasks for outsourcing, as well for risk assessment when looking for staff in freelancer platforms, for example, Upwork. Entrepreneurs identified possible assignments that they can outsource, such as translation services for corporate website, technical drawings, information gathering and creation of database about distributors on a foreign market, and other.
But how to choose the best candidate from all the offers? The first task would be to define the required outsourcing task narrowly. When receiving offers, get to know with the information available on the platform about the candidate – the number of hours spent on the same or similar tasks, the feedback available and other. After selecting, interviews can be held through Skype to get more familiar with their expertise. During the seminar, the entrepreneurs prepared responses to the received offers and planned the interviewing of candidates.
It was the second workshop for the industry entrepreneurs in the project “Wood and Furniture”. The first was devoted to design thinking that can help add value to company products and services, while this export workshop is the next logical step for the company’s development that allows to promote sales. Activities have shown that whether you are a startup or an experienced in export, it is essential to keep up-to-date with and learn new skills in an ever-changing business world.
The next step will be the search for potential partners in foreign trade missions.
The seminar was organised by Vidzeme Planning Region in coordination with Wood and furniture manufacturing centre in Estonia (Tsenter – Puidutöötlemise ja mööblitootmise kompetentsikeskus) – in project “Innovation and export of wood and furniture in Võru County and Vidzeme Planning Region”, within the framework of Latvian- Estonian cross-border cooperation programme.
This article reflects the views of the author. The managing authority of the programme is not liable for how this information may be used.