Before you start pursuing export sales, it’s important to know if your company is ready. Success requires time, money, and a strong management commitment.
Exporting is one of the best ways to grow your business:
• Companies that export are more profitable than those that don’t.
• Smooth your business cycles, including seasonal fluctuations.
• Add management and intercultural expertise.
• Use production capabilities fully.
• Defend your domestic market.
• Increase your competitiveness in all markets.
• Increase the value of your intellectual property if you choose to license it.
• Increase the value of your business should you choose to sell it (and start another).
In the initial stages management are usually diverted from existing domestic business but for many companies, this short term stress will provide longer term rewards. To achieve success, you need to have a plan and remain in control of your business, and not let the business control you.
Do you have what it takes?
If this is your first look at international business you are probably wondering whether you have what it takes to make the leap from local or regional to global marketing. The following are key signs your business is well on its way to being export ready:
- Significant management time and strong management commitment
Developing an international business is no different to starting and building your domestic business; in fact, you can expect it to consume more management time than developing business at home. Exporting requires substantial commitment from management across the business, not just from the CEO or sales manager.
- Strength in the domestic market
In most cases, solid domestic sales form the basis of a good exporting business.
A successful domestic business gives overseas buyers confidence in you as a supplier and will ensure that your business processes are in place and well tested.
Importantly, strength in the domestic market will also provide you with cash flow and the working capital you need to invest in developing your export markets.
- The resources to succeed
Exporters find they need strong financial resources to expand overseas to cover the costs of product modifications, travel and international marketing, to name just a few of the additional costs you might face. You also need to have the right people in place to run the export side of your business, and that may mean additional staff.
- Business and export planning
Many smaller companies don’t get around to formal business planning, but once you start exporting you are moving your business to a different level, so it is wise to consider putting these plans in place. If you do not have an Export Plan, some useful guidance can be found in Austrade’s Export Strategy and Planning guide.
- Export knowledge and skills
To export successfully you will need to learn about a wide range of issues, and these may be studied rapidly by viewing the webinars and taking the quizzes on our Export-U website.
To see if your company is ready to export, take the Export Readiness Assessment.
You’ll be asked to consider issues such as your company’s current operations, attitudes, and products. For a more theoretical assessment, it is helpful to examine some of the motivational and organizational factors behind your company’s decision to export.
Thinking about these factors will help you decide if your company and your product are ready to export.