Beyond Borders, Beyond Barriers: Busting Myths and Fears of Exporting for Malaysian SMEs

According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), only 10.5% of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) contributed to the country’s export market. For many SMEs in Malaysia, the international market is often imagined as extremely complex and competitive. However, the reality is less daunting. Venturing beyond the local borders can be a gateway to exponential revenue growth, worldwide brand recognition, and invaluable learning experience.

This article seeks to debunk myths about exporting, paving the way for Malaysian SMEs to confidently step onto the global stage.

Myth #1: Exporting is only for big corporations.

Busted: While large companies often have the resources to navigate the intricacies of international trade, exporting is equally accessible for SMEs. Entrepreneurs can take the advantages of the resources from government initiatives, trade associations, and online resources provide support, from market research and financing assistance to logistics and compliance guidance.

For instance, Trade42, being a B2B e-marketplace platform that aims to empower SMEs to expand their market share throughout ASEAN has a long-term partnership with MATRADE (Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation), who offers extensive SME support through initiatives like market research grants, participation in trade fairs, export training, and financial assistance. This partnership ensures Trade42 stays updated on MATRADE’s latest resources. By staying in touch, Trade42 swiftly shares valuable insights, market trends, and opportunities with SMEs.

Myth #2: It’s too expensive and time-consuming.

Busted: Although upfront investments in market research, product adaptation, and marketing are unavoidable, the potential long-term gains often surpass the initial costs. Moreover, the advancing technology and logistics have made exporting more efficient and affordable. In addition, e-commerce platforms and digital marketing tools allow SMEs to reach global audiences at lower overhead.

Myth #3: My products won’t be competitive in the international market.

Busted: Malaysian SMEs present distinctive value propositions with cultural nuances, innovative approaches, and competitive pricing. Identifying niche global markets and customizing offerings allows SMEs to thrive internationally. In addition, the “Made in Malaysia” label is increasingly recognized for its quality and reliability, giving your local products a distinct edge.

Myth #4: Cultural differences and language barriers are invincible obstacles.

Busted: Cultural sensitivity and effective communication, though vital, pose manageable challenges. Building relationships with local partners, performing thorough market research, and adapting marketing strategies to cultural preferences can bridge the gaps. Moreover, online translation tools like Google Translate and e-commerce platforms can mitigate language barriers.

Myth #5: The risks are too high, and failure is inevitable.

Busted: Every venture carries risks, yet strategic planning, thorough research, and a calculated approach can significantly reduce them. Therefore, conducting comprehensive market research, competitor analysis, and financial projections will help SMEs pinpoint potential pitfalls and devise effective navigation strategies. Setbacks, in turn, offer valuable learning experiences, providing insights for future endeavors.

One way to mitigate risk when it comes to exporting can be done by always staying updated on the latest trends of industries. E-commerce platforms like Trade42 for example is always committed to making sure SMEs are updated on the latest industry trends through its blog articles and social media updates. Business owners can take this chance to educate themselves so they can make informed decisions to expand their business.

Exporting is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. It requires careful planning, thorough research, and a commitment to continuous learning and adaptation. However, the rewards are immense for those SMEs willing to embrace the challenge of venturing beyond borders.

If you are a business owner looking to expand your business globally but unsure where to start, why not have a chat so that we can help you?

About Trade42:

We’re a one-stop B2B e-marketplace committed to helping Malaysian SMEs connect with buyers throughout ASEAN. Our expertly designed platform empowers manufacturers and brand owners to generate leads, drive sales and expand their market reach across Southeast Asia. Get in touch with us at to discover how Trade42 can connect you with international buyers and drive your business towards success!

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