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New directions in exporting

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Peter Mace from the Export Council of Australia takes us through the latest lessons in export. I had the pleasure to provide a 'Getting Started in Export' workshop to a group of current and intending exporters last Friday on the northern beaches, working with the Trade & Investment team from NSW State Government. There were two case study presenters at the workshop, who in their own way, indicate where export is heading for, at least some, Australian exporters. The first presenter was Christelle Damiens, the MD of Exportia. Christelle’s focus is on helping Australian companies enter the European markets of France and Germany. Having this country focus allows Exportia to tailor a strategy for each client, with a strong understanding of the language and business culture and any local barriers in mind. This can, and has helped many companies with the transition into what might otherwise be daunting new markets. That understanding of how things work on the ground is imperative, and with the change in focus by Austrade in Europe, companies like Exportia are filling the gap and providing that advice and guidance that new entrants really need. The second presenter was Paul Waddy, CEO of Antoine+Stanley. Antoine+Stanley are primarily shoe retailers, however have combined the best of shopfront (using David Jones as a stockist) as well as their own online site, and listings on sites such as ASOS, The Iconic and Styletread. There remains the need to develop a brand and following, but using a variety of distribution methods allows greater reach and different audiences. Of course, managing all the logistics is not without problems, and Paul seems to have these sorted. With the world becoming more of a global village, and speed to market being essential in the fashion industry, the online shopping capability in different markets is certainly a good model to follow. The key point for me with these two stories, is that in most industries now, a company (exporter) often can’t efficiently take on all parts of the process themselves. Managing the bits that really represent the IP in the business is vital, and then looking at avenues and partners to take care of the other pieces allows a company to conserve capital, move quickly, and hopefully adapt quickly to continue to grow. So perhaps it’s time to evaluate the various parts of your business and see what parts may be holding you back, and whether those parts could be better provided by a specialist third party.

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