Seven strategies to help your business succeed in exporting
As a business owner it’s natural to review your business plan and consider opportunities for future growth and expansion. An important channel for growth for many small and medium businesses (SMEs) is exporting. The opportunity to showcase quality Australian products and services overseas and compete internationally can be both exciting and rewarding.
For many SMEs, establishing an export operation can be challenging and there are many factors to consider before making the plunge. We suggest the following
steps for any aspiring exporter looking to grow overseas in the next 12 months.
1. Develop an export strategy, and stick to itWhen you start exporting, it can be easy to get side tracked by the different options that come across your path – from potential markets to buyers and partners. It’s important to consider your options carefully, but stay focused and stick closely to your export strategy.
2. Think about how to position your product or service in a new marketWhen considering if your product or service will succeed overseas, you need to think about price points, quality and competition among other things. How much you understand the market you are entering is key to your export success.
3. Build an experienced and flexible teamWhen you start exporting, the flow of work may vary. You need to know you have the expertise and resources to support you when you win a big export contract. Having the right team around you, with the ability to be flexible, will be critical.
4. Build your networkIn the export game, relationships are everything: finding and working with great local partners will set your exporting business up for success.
5. Test, test, and test againUnderstanding your market is essential. Too many exporters make the mistake of launching their product or service too early, without testing whether it works and how it will be received in the local market. Just because a product is successful in one market, may not guarantee it will be in another market.
6. Explore your finance optionsOne of the most common problems for small businesses is funding growth. Once export comes into the equation, financing requirements become even more important and many businesses need support to enable them to fulfil their export and export-related contracts.
Speak to your business banker who can assess your situation and advise you on your best course of action. Your bank may be able to offer you a secured loan or commercial bill facility to help you with financing your export growth. If your bank is unable to help, there are alternative sources of export funding which may apply to your business. Efic, Australia’s export credit agency, is one option for accessing export finance.
7. Learn from the experiences of your peersOne Australian manufacturer that has been through this export journey is RJE Global, a South Australian engineering, construction and project management company. RJE Global provides a full-service range of solutions for the electrical engineering and construction of projects in the energy, renewables and mining, and infrastructure sectors.
Author: Andrew Watson, Executive Director Export Finance, SME