So you’re doing well in Australia and
it’s time to test your mettle on the
world stage? Here’s a checklist to test
When a business is doing as well as it can in the local market, one obvious next move is to expand overseas. But where does a business owner or manager obtain the knowledge to make such a bold move? The good news is that there are plenty of resources.
The Australian Institute of Export (AIEx), for instance, runs various courses – both web and classroom based – that cost from $250 for online training.
State governments offer various schemes to encourage and promote local businesses looking to expand overseas. Through Austrade there is even a pool of $150 million, called the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG), to financially assist businesses with their export marketing expenses.
Austrade is also currently developing an online export readiness tool to help businesses assess their own capacity.
Peter Mace, general manager of AIEx, says his organisation and others such as Austrade often host industry events in order to help like-minded businesses to network and share export knowledge. Simply visit the websites and register as a member to receive updates.
Mace supplied this five-step checklist to assess your company’s readiness to expand overseas.
1. Do you have an export-ready product or service?
- Could your product or service be sold overseas as it is, or does it need modification, new labeling or adjustment to meet overseas consumer laws (for example use-by dates and ingredients)?
- Will the pricing, including the costs of getting it to another market, keep it competitive against existing competition in that market?
2. Resources (the following can be either in-house
or external support)
- Do you have a sales contract, enforceable in another legal jurisdiction?
- Are any intellectual property, designs and so on, registered?
- Who will undertake the export documentation, organising
shipment by air / sea, customs clearance and appropriate
packing for transit?
- Who will manage export sales and customer service for clients overseas who perhaps have different language requirements?
- What will be the entry method? Direct sales via the internet? Using a distributor or agent? Setting up an office? Obtaining a local partner? Franchising?
- Develop marketing materials, such as flyers or samples in different languages. Check that any Unique Selling Point (USP) in the product is relevant in another culture. Manage cultural differences.
- Source support from government and industry groups.
- Ensure the business website supports the exporting effort with different languages, export pricing, different payment options, USP for different audiences, and so on.
4. Finance and payment
- Ensure you have sufficient working capital to fund a push into a new market.
- Get the payment terms right and use products such as Letters of Credit, Collections and Credit Insurance to protect receivables.
- If selling outside the Australian dollar, ensure the foreign exchange risk is properly managed to
5. Visit the market
- Back up all your research with a visit to the market to assess potential firsthand. Meet possible distributors / partners and assess the competition.
- Take advantage of trade fairs and market visits to get maximum value (Austrade and state governments can assist).
- Start small in such territories as New Zealand, Thailand and Singapore to learn the ropes. Don’t dive into big markets, such as China and India, where it is easier to suffer a negative experience.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and the interviewees, and not of Australia Post.
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