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Take your business global

The New Year is a time of renewal and new beginning

I recently joined the Canberra Business Council as the Export Development Manager/ACT Exporters Network Manager. Prior to joining the Council, I worked as a Business Development Manager at Austrade Jakarta for 12 years. During my time with Austrade, I assisted many Australian companies grow their export business in various sectors ranging from agribusiness, food and beverage, consumer, ICT, financial services, professional and business services, mining, oil and gas and advanced manufacturing.

Have you ever considered exporting as part of your business strategy for 2014? Perhaps it‘s now time to consider how exporting may benefit your company in the long run.

The first step that you need to take is to assess whether your business is export-ready. There are several tools available online to determine whether your business is ready for exporting. One of the tools available is Austrade’s International Readiness Indicator (available at http://www.austrade.gov.au/ InternationalReadiness). The indicator consists of 12 simple questions and will take less than 5 minutes to complete

Once you have assessed your company’s readiness to export, the next step is to develop an export strategy. The following guidelines should provide you with some practical steps to get you started with your export strategy.

1. Look inside your company

Analyse your company’s operations and growth aspirations. Take into account your competitive position and highlight your strengths and unique selling propositions. Assess your strengths in terms of product, service, staff, distribution and technical service.

2. The export environment

Assess the factors that will impact on your export plans. Do you have international expertise in the company? Are you aware of export markets where your products have been sold previously? In this section, undertake the bulk of your market research and market selection activities. These will include market analysis, ranking market attractiveness, assessing competition, understanding export market environments, distribution and logistics.

3. Product and service offerings

What modifications will you need to make to your product or service to satisfy overseas buyers? What packaging, labelling and presentational modifications are required?

4. Prepare a strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis

A standard SWOT analysis will enable you to segregate the key factors for further work and to help shape your priorities in terms of markets, pricing and competitive factors. More specific SWOT work will be needed in the export plan.

5. Needs assessment or ‘how will we succeed’

Determine the ‘must do’ factors which will underwrite your success. These could include product modifications, financial resources, distribution and developing the final marketingmodel.

6. Creating the export plan.

Your export plan will flow from the export strategy structure outlined. It should include target setting, market entry strategies and financial management including your export pricing model. Marketing decisions on a distribution model will be required (distributor, agent, representative office, after sales service).

7. Implementation and monitoring

Instigate the export plan, drive its implementation, regularly review and adjust strategy as market circumstances change.

An export strategy is just the initial stage of the export journey. There are several things that you would need to do next, including conducting some form of market research on your target market, preparing your export marketing, determining your export pricing, visiting your target market, understanding your risks, secure financing for your export business, deciding on the market entry method and understanding other aspects of exporting such as freight/logistics, legal issues and payment.

The journey to export is to not a short one, but if done correctly, it can be very rewarding.

I am here to help. Please contact me on: (02) 6247 4199

[email protected]

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