6. Start the Business

EXPORT – If Exporting is required

What is Exporting?
A business can reach a point in the market of their country where they cannot expand anymore. They are then forced to consider looking at the markets in overseas countries. They start to think about selling their products and services overseas. They start to think about exporting.

Much Larger Market Overseas
The international market is of course, so much larger than the national market in the USA or in most countries. For example, we have in Australia around 20 million. The UK has about 60 million, South Africa about 49 million. And that is only 3 countries out of approximately 80 of any size.

The growth rates in many overseas markets are faster and greater than the domestic market in this country will ever be. You have to take into account the costs and risks associated with exporting because not every business should consider this option for growing their business. You need to investigate the commitment and weigh the costs involved against the potential benefit.

Aspects of Exporting To Watch
Here are some points about exporting that you need to be aware of:

  1. Before you start make sure you do your homework.
    This includes talking to export consultants as well as the government departments that can assist you in your own country about moving into the export trade. You will need a clear plan that shows your goals and objectives including how those goals and objectives would be achieved.

  2. Don’t assume that you will automatically be successful overseas.
    What works in your country may not work in overseas countries. What works in Australia may not work in the USA. What works in the USA may not necessarily work in the the USA. Each market has to be treated separately if you are to achieve

  3. Be prepared to change and modify.
    You may have a good product with high potential overseas but it may require modifications in order to suit the people of that country. You may have to take account of the cultural issues of the country in your designs for instances. You will need to make changes to suit the demands of the market that you are trying to reach.

  4. Be sure you have support and servicing for your product.
    A product without backup support is a product that will be looked upon with suspicion. It is no use selling a product that is not backed up by good service. A guarantee of support should be available should problems arise about your product with an overseas customer. Poor support or poor service would give your company and your goods a poor reputation resulting in lost business.

  5. Make sure you deal with reputable overseas distributors.
    Take time to fully check what distributors overseas can offer you. Look at their own business and see how they operate. If possible talk to clients who have dealt with them. Check out the integrity and honesty in their dealings. Take into account the location of the overseas distributor because transportation can be a factor that can raise costs. Time zones can raise other problems.

  6. Take it slow overseas and make sure growth is orderly.
    Don’t accept trade by chance – that is building your market growth in a steady manner. Remember every overseas enquiry should be followed up. Do not just accept a customer because it will result in a sale but check out that customer’s reputation and ability to honour their part of the bargain. They have to be able to pay you for your products.

  7. Don’t leave your potential success to chance.
    Work on the basis of a proper marketing plan. Never leave things to work themselves out. Have a plan and follow it.

  8. Stay with your overseas market.
    If you find that you local market is growing and demanding more from you be careful you don’t abandon the international market that you have built up. This is because once it is lost, you may never be able to recover that market again. Too many companies export only when the domestic market is failing. Subsequently when the domestic scene starts to pick up again they ignore their export customers and the whole export trade. You can’t just pick and choose when its suits you to export. It is best to have a policy where your business overseas is kept operating steadily no matter what happens locally.

  9. Be prepared to translate into the language of the overseas country.
    You may need to reprint all your promotion and training material, packaging and warranties etc so that it can be easily understood in the language of the overseas country. Most overseas distributors are able to speak English but you have to think in terms of the customers who may not speak English. Your printed material regarding sales, services and packaging must be clearly understood by your potential customers.

  10. Be aware of the overseas culture.
    Each culture has its own requirements. If you are not familiar with the manners and etiquette and the way business is done in a particular country then you will be putting yourself at a great disadvantage. Business in some countries is carried out in a defined manner that applies to everyone that wants to do business there. The customs in some countries require that you sit down and drink tea and chat before business is even discussed. It is considered bad manners and potentially a loss of good business if you do not follow the custom that dictates how business is done.

The 11 Common Mistakes by New Exporters
The trick with exporting is to make few mistakes, because mistakes can cost your business a lot, not only in money but also in lost time.

The most common mistakes are:

  1. Neglecting to look at export at all because your domestic market was booming.
  2. Not being committed enough to overcome the perceived difficulties and financial requirements of exporting.
  3. Failure to get proper export counselling before commencing any marketing approaches.
  4. Assuming, without market research, that your products would be successful overseas.
  5. Being unwilling to carry out modifications to products to meet cultural requirements or regulations of overseas countries.
  6. Failure to print your warranty and other product information in the language of the country you intended to export to.
  7. Failing to plan for servicing your products in the country you were selling to.
  8. Refusal to use an export management company if you couldn’t afford your own export department.
  9. Chasing orders from too many areas around the world, rather than concentrating on one or two countries that you could adequately handle.
  10. Not taking enough care when selecting overseas distributors or sales representatives.
  11. Failing to treat international agents and distributors on the same basis as their domestic counterparts.

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