Are you export ready?

Are you export ready? article image

Recently a company contacted me and was wondering where to begin their thinking in relation to export readiness. It’s a question that occasionally comes up, but on the whole, I see quite a few businesses that don’t appear to put much time into considering it at all. Frightening! A little bit of thought would contribute towards reducing headaches and saving money along with providing some scope for achieving the overseas market aspirations in the best interest of the business. Intuitively, businesses like to assume they know how to approach these activities, but here are my ideas on a list of questions to ask for greater assurance. I believe these will help any business develop insights on whether they are ready to start on an export journey. Spare a moment to consider these questions:

  • Are the directors supportive and think of export as integral to the future of the business?
  • Does someone have time to build and liaise with overseas prospects/customers?
  • Is venturing into exporting part of the overall business strategy?
  • Does the offering have a uniqueness that is potentially attractive to an overseas market?
  • For which overseas market is the offering potentially a good fit?
  • Can the offer be adapted to meet foreign cultural preferences or legislative requirements?
  • What is the offering’s competitive advantage?
  • Can you demonstrate a good track record in your local market?
  • Do you have an organised and defined approach locally?
  • Where will you receive advice on how to develop an overall focus for export?
  • Will you need to have support service in the target marketplace?
  • Will production capacity cope with supply to additional markets?
  • Can you meet the necessary export/import regulations, food safety standards?
  • Do you know how to pinpoint the best market?
  • Can you strictly adhere to promises of deadlines and delivery?
  • How will you manage communication, and will you need an interpreter?
  • What financial support may be required, short, medium and longer term?
  • Do you have appropriate insurance coverage?
  • Do you have a contact with expertise and access to logistics support?
  • Do you have adequate knowledge of payment mechanisms and negotiating deals?

So you thought there was nothing to it? Think again! Some businesses jump directly into implementation when it comes to export and bypass the whole notion of a bit of navel-gazing to set the scene and establish a supportive environment internally around exporting. Those who start by contemplating some basic questions as outlined above will fare better for tackling the hurdles and surprises that will arise along any export journey. Spending a little time to assess the business' export readiness is important because it will help with the all important decisions such as capability to service an international marketplace or whether it’s better to devote more time on the home turf before challenging the business to export. Investing a little time in answering these questions before taking the plunge into foreign territory will maximise your opportunity and enable you to focus on what you want to achieve. That way, you’ll have a clear vision to plan for and work towards. You will feel more confident and sure about your goals. Preparedness will set you apart from your competition, which may well be contending for the same opportunity.


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