With the signing of free trade agreements with our three major Asian trading partners, Australian exporters are setting their sights firmly on those markets.
But are they missing out on lucrative opportunities in more traditional markets like Europe?
Most definitely, says Christelle Damiens, Managing Director of Exportia.
“There are great opportunities in Europe now including advanced manufacturing, technology, eHealth, medical devices, electronics and e-commerce,” she says.
“Europeans are looking for unique solutions – particularly if it can solve a problem for industry.
“To be successful in Europe you need a niche product or service,” she explains.
A proposed free trade agreement with the European Union would create further opportunities for Australian exporters.
But many Australian SMEs are looking to grow internationally often lack the time and the financial and human resources to make it happen.
Exportia, established some 10 years ago, is a business consultancy that assists Australian technology companies to break into the European market.
The European market has an advantage over the US and China as they specialise in highly technical products, Christelle says.
Her company offers a 7-step strategy plan to help companies succeed in competitive markets such as France and Germany.
Christelle works closely with her clients – mainly SMEs – to help overcome any language barriers or cultural differences.
She can assist clients with technical discussions and translations with potential partners and distributors.
“We like to ensure that the message conveyed is the right one,” she says.
Exportia assists clients to select the countries that best suit their products.
It also helps in choosing the most appropriate products and services for those countries and identifies the best sectors as well as compliance, pricing and marketing.
“We help them negotiate with potential partners and can help forecast the expected revenue return from a particular market,” says Christelle.
Most importantly, Exportia provides a strong network throughout Europe so that Australian businesses can find the right partners and distributors.
One of the biggest mistakes Australian exporters make when trying to break into the European market is to go in under-capitalised, Christelle says.
“You have to invest significantly enough to make a difference and to reach your goals.
“Some smaller businesses don’t always have the capacity to invest.”
Also, it is important for companies make sure all employees engage with and understand the European market.
“Everyone (in the company) should know and understand what is happening over there.”
Preparation is everything
Preparation, says Christelle, is vital for any businesses which are considering entering the European market.
“Do your homework and make sure your company is ready,” she advises.
“Companies should first look for the low-hanging fruit and just focus on their target market in Europe first.”
Earlier this year Christelle launched a guide to exporting Australian technology to Europe titled Ready Tech Go.
“It is basically sharing my 10 years of experience of taking Australian SMEs in the high tech sector to Europe.”
The Kindle version of the book has been an Amazon best seller in its category.
“It provides companies with a practical step-by-step process to successfully complete their export journey.
“It’s aimed at lowering risk and maximising results.”
To learn more visit: www.exportia.com.au