All the tools and resources you need to export your goods across the world

Export Preparation

Exporting, because of its global nature, is often seen as being quite glamorous. Also, because of the apparent size of the global market, some companies may think that entering export markets must be very easy. For these and other reasons, many companies turn to exports as a means of salvation from small and highly competitive local markets. These are the worst reasons for exporting.

Exporting is a complex, time consuming and very difficult endeavour. It should only be attempted by companies that have the resources to tackle these foreign opportunities - exporting is unfortunately not for everyone.

Exporting is worth considering only if you:

  • have a unique product.
  • are an established, successful firm.
  • are already selling nationally and need to expand your sales.
  • are competing quite successfully against imported products.
  • are in a position to finance your export endeavours for a period of 12 to 24 months without necessarily generating any immediate income.
  • already have good contacts in your industry abroad who may be prepared to help you.
  • have the necessary export skills within your firm.

On the other hand, you should stay away from exporting if you:

  • do not yet have a formal business plan for your local market.
  • are not yet selling your products nationally.
  • are struggling in the domestic market.
  • are producing and selling a very ordinary product.
  • have limited finances and resources.

You can be said to be export ready if you have:

  • Obtained senior management’s absolute support for and commitment to the firm’s export efforts
  • An established product that is unique in one or more ways and that is competitively priced
  • Confidence that your suppliers will continue to supply you with the raw materials and components that you need to meet export demand, even if there are unexpected changes in the domestic and/or international marketplace                                                       
  • The capacity to easily re-design your product to suit your intended market
  • The ability to adopt additional competitive features such as using new materials, meeting international standards, integrating new technologies, incorporating new packaging, etc.
  • Spare production capacity so you can quickly fulfill a large export
  • Adopted consistent quality control in your production process, which you can still adhere to even if you increase production to meet export demand
  • An established and profitable national market in your home country
  • An existing system for managing your expenses and income
  • Adequate cash, savings, or access to capital to finance your production and marketing efforts for a year or two
  • Trained staff that have experience in export marketing and logistics
  • One or more foreign-speaking personnel with good customer service skills
  • The capacity to survive for at least two years without making a large profit
  • Attended export training yourself or solicited export advice from appropriate experts in this field
  • Attended export networking events (such as the Exporters’ Club) or conferences
  • Developed a formal, documented export plan
  • Already conducted some export marketing research on which to base your forward thinking
  • Considered how you will address the various export risks that you will face.

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