Are you thinking about exporting your product or service? Congratulations, exciting times are certainly ahead of you. Yet with the thrill of launching your product into a new market come plenty of challenges, including deciding which country to export to, how to get into the market and how to make sure it is profitableand deliverable. To maximise your export opportunity and increase your chances of success, it’s important to focus on what you want to achieve. That way, you’ll have a clear vision to plan for and work towards. So, where to begin? Use these three steps to ensure you are export ready.
Step 1: Discover everything you can
Start by investing time in researching how other businesses have set about exporting their product. Use the internet to find case studies on your intended market, as well as other industries, and learn from their achievements and mistakes. You should also extensively research your competition to understand their offering and work out how you differ to what they provide. Once you know, you will be in a better position to market your company’s unique proposition to foreign buyers so that they snap up your product ahead of the field. Another useful and accessible way to build up your exporting knowledge is to attend seminars and enrol in short courses on the export marketing process, export documentation and international business. In this environment, you will also meet like minded people who have good ideas and advice for you to learn from. If you prefer to have experts on your side, seek out an export specialist to guide you along the journey and fast track the process. They should be able to help you carry out important market research and feasibility studies to minimise costs, associated risks and help you to connect with your target market.
Step 2: Plan your exporting
With research underway, it’s also the right time to develop an effective action plan based on what you are learning. The world’s most successful exporters always have an export plan in place. So, increase your chances of becoming one of them by carefully developing a plan with your specialist guide and following it. Ideally, you will gain experience in marketing your product through first becoming established in your local market. That way, you can parlay your learnings into your export plan. And remember to factor in the extra costs involved in exporting your product, like additional transport, insurance premiums, handling charges, and changes to packaging and labelling for a foreign audience.
Step 3: Set up your business for exporting
It’s all very well to have a plan but you also literally need to have the goods to back it up. So, make sure that you are equipped to deliver what you say you can, when you say you will. Make sure you have sound processes in place to support you in satisfying demand and fulfilling orders. After all, you want your product to sell like hotcakes, so put time into creating your systems and processes that won’t let your customers, and you, down. You should also have your basic promotional collateral ready to go, like business cards, a website and a company profile, when you start your export marketing drive. This is so you start off your campaign at full force and with the kind of professionalism your foreign buyers will expect from you. While your offer may come natural and straightforward for you, on the flipside, creating a deliberate and engineered export strategy will see results come from your diligence and hard work rather than from luck. -Steve Dowling is founder and director of ClientLink (www.clientlink.com.au), a boutique consultancy specialising in helping small to medium businesses achieve success in marketing and export planning.