How is business in Pakistan these days? Can it be improved? What strategies could be implemented to improve it? What is 2011's outlook for the economy as well as your company?

Are the large majority of the Pakistan's smaller and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) considered in kingdom valley Islamabad expanding into the global market in North America, EU, Asia? Either by finding distributors/wholesalers in these regions or by soliciting business directly from the end-user whether this is a company or individual consumer? Do these companies have the ability to utilize online and in-person marketing (DM) to expand their reach beyond their boundaries? How do they go about doing this and what are the most effective and cost-effective ways to do so? If they already operate in international markets, how can DM be utilized to assist and improve their efforts and outcomes? Can DM be used to increase market share in their home market?

Pakistan SME's are fortunate to have institutions like those of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) and the SME Bank. They recognize the significance and enormous scope of SMEs. In collaboration with both public and private agencies and associations and armed with the confidence that they are able to expand their businesses, will propel a percentage of Pakistan's SMEs to the international stage.

In Pakistan 93 percent of all businesses are classified as SMEs. That's 93% out of 3.2 million businesses. Pakistan's SMEs contribute 30% to the GDP overall and 25% to Pakistan's total export earnings.

Even if just one percent of Pakistan's SMEs adopt the direct route to global markets this would mean that there are 30,000 businesses entering the global market. A more realistic target is to have one-tenth of one percent (0.001). This would still mean nearly 3,000 companies! That's good news for Pakistan's economic and employment picture and to build Pakistan further into a global brand.

Can this be done efficiently, effectively, and with minimal risk? Yes, it is possible. Is there sufficient opportunity for high returns on the investment (ROI)? For businesses that are able to provide their goods/services overseas, is it possible?

As an example of a market, for example of a marketplace, U.S. is the most "business and import-friendly" country around the globe. US imports exceed 95% of the GDP of all nations of the world combined. The U.S. makes it easy for non-residents who are not residents to establish businesses in the U.S. There are highly targeted databases available on over 23 million businesses and on every household in the U.S. One U.S. data firm offers more than 300 choices in demographics and lifestyles for every household in the U.S. Total US import values in 2009 stood at US$1.7 trillion dollars even with overall imports dropping in that year. This resulted in generating US$30 billion in import duties and other fees, which makes Customs Bureau US Customs Bureau the third biggest revenue generator for the U.S. after the International Revenue Service (taxes) and the Social Security Administration (retirement/pension fund).

Let's look at one market segment: apparel and textiles imports into the U.S. There's only one exception- that of when textile and apparel imports declined by 2.0% in 2001, they have been steadily increasing since 1989-culminating in a total value increase of 249 percent. While imports declined in 2009 by 9.9 percent, a double digit rise was recorded in 2010.

To make it more inviting, there are excellent companies within Pakistan which can offer the technology, marketing, and creative services required for a business to grow internationally by reaching directly out to the end-user.

Businesses in Pakistan should be asking "Are we taking a passive or active approach to our businesses?" Pakistan isn't alone in the need of asking this. The economic crisis that has hit the world has affected all markets. Technological advancements and dependence to the web have assisted business and challenged the very basis of how many businesses function. A large number, in fact are testing new methods, diversifying and trying out new ideas, adapting to new realities.

What are the best ways for businesses to keep their market share and expand their exports? What methods are used to increase business growth? If the traditional methods are working it is a great thing. But in these difficult times, is this enough? Are there other strategies to be tested? Global economic realities mean that all businesses have to perform better.

Should each SME in Pakistan consider taking a more clear approach to both global and domestic sales?

Consider, yes. Act upon it? But not always. Each business's business structure and the circumstances are different. To boost market share in the domestic market, it depends on whether the products or services offered are suited to direct marketing. Will DM prove responsive and be worth the effort, however small? If the products or services can be marketed outside of the borders of one's country, and if management is able to implement a direct plan and If the ROI is there, then a global direct strategy has to be thought about. Staffing need not be an issue since it can be overseen by only a couple of people.

What is a clear method and how can it be employed and utilized to attract more customers.

The direct approach involves determining as precisely as possible the prospective customers and clients. This could involve an immediate sale to a buyer, whether an individual customer (B2C) as well as a company (B2B). It could also involve using DM to locate local distributors/agents or wholesalers from abroad who purchase your products and then sell them on those networks they already have. The next step is to choose the best message and methods to contact the potential customers directly. Will a direct sale be made with no introduction, or is it necessary to introduce your company and educate potential buyers about the advantages to doing business It is generally necessary to introduce yourself and credibility has to be established. What to do: Start by searching databases to find the most promising prospects, then refining the lists and determining the best method(s) of contact.

How do we accomplish this?

What's your desired result? Rapid sales, enticing to make contact with your company, asking your prospect to take the survey or ask specific concerns, arranging a time for a presentation, marketing and raising the awareness of your brand and company in a specific industry by directing people to your website or sign up for newsletters or electronic newsletters?

It is best to begin by reviewing of the market you want to target. You should then find sources that not only provide the top databases, but can also completely refine your search to ensure nothing is lost. One pays a certain amount per 1000 records, so refining the search area saves money instantly and will also save on printing, lettershops, and postage charges if the preferred method of contact is a postal mailer.

If available, integrate your house-based internal database with customers in the mix. Utilize this information along with transaction history to better identify and isolate like clients and customers from commercially available databases.