Exporting is an evolution, not a panacea. While it may be true that there are businesses out there that were saved by turning to export, it can be fraught if you don’t understand what you are getting into and prepare your business and your team for the challenges and changes it brings.
All trade development advisors will ask you if you’re “export ready”, but what does that mean? The truth is it begins with how well you’re doing with your ‘home’ market - and that requires some introspection.
There are many questions that you need to answer before you look beyond your national borders and if you don’t answer these questions with appropriate answers before you take the first step to export, your experience can’t be guaranteed as a productive one.
How strong are you at home?
The first thing to assess is how well the business is performing in its ‘home’ or local market. Consider things like your market share and your profitability. If you aren’t leading the field, then why are you exporting? If you aren’t leading the field due to challenges, why are you seeking export as a channel for success? You want to be considering exporting for the right reasons and that starts with understanding where you sit in your home market.
How would your business cope with increased export demand?
This is an important one – you need to have confidence with taking the next step in exporting and that comes down to knowing your current production systems can cope with increased demand. Alongside this, is having confidence in your team – are they prepared and equipped with the right knowledge and skills to support you in starting the export journey? If you have the systems and the people, the next step is to assess what logistical issues you will need to overcome – how prepared are you for those?
Is your product ready to go global?
Do you need to adapt your product significantly for a foreign market? This question takes some research and insight into the markets you are seeking to enter. Cultural, Legal and Social standards and requirements shift from country to country – in some cases region to region. So being prepared and knowing the changes required before you start the export process is critical to making an informed decision.
Are you financially ready to export?
Lastly, the big one – money. Can you afford to take this step? Do you have the resources to develop an offshore market? It’s almost always more expensive than you think, especially if you haven’t done your homework properly and covered all of your bases, so do the maths and speak to people who have been there and done it before you – the insights will be invaluable.
We have a check list to help prospective exporters and can provide a range of services to assist. If you want to know more, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call on 0414 659 359.