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5 ways to beat an export slowdown

Be on top of the game
By Carlo P. Mallo |

The National Statistics Office recently reported that the country\\\'s merchandise export in February was at its slowest pace since November 2009. The country only had $3.9 billion worth of exports in February, down 3.4 percent from January\\\'s $4 billion.

In an export-dependent economy like the Philippines, local industries immediately feel the effects of a slump in demand from other markets. But how can an export-driven company survive a crunch in demand?

Entrepreneur.com.ph asked Simeon Marfori, an exporter and former chair of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industries, to share five things one can do to beat an export slowdown.

1. Revert to the domestic market. There can be high demand in the local market as long as one is looking at the right sectors. "A lot of entrepreneurs fail to recognize the potential of the local market. The local market, if tapped properly, can save the export company from losses," Marfori said.

2. Find other non-traditional markets especially in Europe. Local exporters usually look at the US, Japan, Australia and China for their products but Marfori is encouraging entrepreneurs to start checking out other markets. "Try looking at Russia, Eastern Europe, India, and other countries that are not usually on the list of exporters."

3. Find new uses for same products. This is the best time to let your creative juices flow. "During a slowdown for demand, think of ways you can further create a demand for an existing product by thinking of new ways on how a product can be used."

4. Try to use capacity for development of new products. "Since demand for your products is low, do not put your machine and equipment to waste by not doing anything," Marfori said. "Think of new products that you can develop using what you have. You’ll never know what you’ll develop."

5. If all else fails, liquidate the business and move to a new venture. You may feel a tad sentimental about your business but this is a must-do when the situation calls for it. "Do it before any of your competitors does," Marfori said. "If you think that your business has no hope of recovering, liquidate it and invest in a new business venture."

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