What got you that first export contract might be your heads down and hard work. Putting your head down with the rest doesn't help execute those signed contracts, especially for the first time. Lack of funding is one of the biggest reasons agro-exporters fail. Most exporters believe that their only reliable source of funding is;
- 1. Their savings
- 2. Funds from friends and family
- 3. Bank loans.
We may have read about angel investors and venture capitalists but the challenge is actually accessing funding from them in return for equity/share of the profit. Just few can fund their export business themselves or through family and friends. This is nothing new, doing so for the first time comes with its own mix feelings, proving the old adage, "It's not what you know; it's who you know." Not every exporter enjoys such luxury though.
One might have tried tho access funds in return for equity from investors, reach out to banks for credit, friends, family and what not? We often optimistically try all the ways we've learned to fund our business so we could to execute on time while the opposite happens - time wasted. If everywhere seems locked up, isn't it high time you change your actions and evolve?
Be the Voice
You see, there are little known facts that could unlock some resources you can leverage on to fund your first export trade. It's important to tell everyone you've just signed your first export contract and keep the "with who" private, your competitors are watching. Let your Social media followers know, let "other" potential buyers who have not actually signed any contract with you know. Some of them may want to know how it went after few weeks past -- A good move to connect again and secure your next export contract.
Quick takeaway: You may choose not to let them know it's your first export trade but your profile and online presence might give you away. Instead use your past experiences to lay some emphasis and align them to your present
Add to your Rucove updates
People are seeing it; you may try two smart questions like: 'What other thoughts do you have for me?' and 'Know anyone else I should talk to or collaborate with?" at the end of your update. Export is easy once you play along. Yes, raising funds requires a distinct skill set especially if you got no money to execute and the buyer paid through Letter of credit or made an escrow deposit to your Rucove wallet. Talk to people and see what thoughts and ideas they may share with you outside the obvious how to be "putting money into personal business" and other funding codes one need to crack.
Some people were once where you are
If you're among the millennials or the Gen Z clan, take advantage of your youth. Although things might look somewhat locked down, people actually want to help; they were once where you are and someone helped them break into the export industry. Startups might help too; source buyers from B2B startup platforms as they're fewer, eager to achieve their milestones, can respond faster and might "stretch" their limited funds to fund your first export trade if maybe, you're local to them. Although there is no guarantee that marketplace startups will fund your export trade, leveraging any of their escrow tools instead of trading outside their platform is more likely to increase your chances of getting funded. Use this time to ask for help, introductions, and advice. Bring yourself to their notice and remember, they have the data, you're local to them, you used their platform and their tools too. They can visit you and confirm whatever they need to know and can follow up from start to finish. Therefore, they'll find it less risky to invest in you and it's more likely they'll fund your trade.
Build your social capital
If you couldn't fund
your export trade from banks, investors, friends and family, your social capital could be
next and might be the opposite of your bad experiences so far. Start building
your network with people you know. it's quite easier said than done but it's
like your money in the bank. Although people in your network may not fund your
export trade, networking strategically is an advantage - a powerful collection
of people who wouldn't mind to speak for you often; this may be a good source
to convince your buyer in making an upfront deposit or someone outside your
network to partner with you. At the end of the day, you'll have a network ready
whenever you need it because they've known you to be an agro exporter, a small
business owner and a genuine person.
Know other ways one can fund her export trade, especially for the first time?