Exporting: the 10 commandments

The ten commandments of exporting have been written to provide first time exporters with some fundamental advice on how to physically and mentally prepare for export action.

1. Conquer your home market first

Establish a solid domestic market before venturing into export. It will arm you with the skills and experience required for the rigours of exporting and provides much-needed cash-flow to finance your export campaign.

2. Be committed and patient

Never underestimate the amount of time, effort, money and commitment required to succeed in exporting. You will need to be patient. Do not expect things to happen overnight and do not try to rush. 

3. Be flexible and adaptable

Do not try to be all things to all people. It is highly likely you will have to adapt your products or services to suit each export market you target. 

4. Undertake thorough research

Be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time thoroughly researching potential markets. Identify real opportunities. 

5. Plan a progressive market entry

Prioritise your list of potential target markets based on the results of your desk and in-market research. Plan to enter them one at a time in a planned and calculated manner. 

6. Develop strong relationships

Select your export partners carefully.  Work steadfastly at developing partnerships by ensuring clear and open lines of communication and an environment of mutual respect and trust.

7. Visit your markets

Be prepared to visit potential markets before you commence export activity to assess the potential first hand and identify possible export partners. 

8. Plan your export campaign

Success in exporting will not come by good luck.  Currency fluctuations can have a major impact on export profits and they should be factored into your planning.

9. Do not try to re-invent the wheel

Be aware of the multitude of public and private sector support programs and resource centres. Be prepared to pay for expertise when you need it.

10. Enjoy export

A positive attitude and will to succeed will help you to enjoy your export development activities. Do not set unrealistic goals or commit yourself to unreasonable timelines. The resulting stress and pressure will only diminish your enjoyment and consequently, commitment to the export process. 

Why grow your business through exporting?

  • Exporting is a great way to expand your business and if done properly, can significantly increase your profitability.
  • Getting the right balance between international and domestic trade can protect your business if there is a downturn in one of your markets.
  • Exporting will also expose you to new ideas, marketing techniques and ways of competing that you wouldn't generally experience at a local or national level.
  • The challenges and victories you experience through exporting to overseas markets will help develop your skills and ability to compete more robustly in your domestic market.

How to start exporting?

Success in exporting doesn't happen over night or by accident – it needs careful preparation, planning and commitment.

Getting your export business off the ground can be challenging and tricky so don't hesitate to ask for help.

Speak to a Maxxeshop Limited Business Advisor to discuss your situation, email or phone us.

Before you think about exporting it's wise to conquer your domestic market. The most successful exporters are well established and have a strong customer base at home.

Once you've established a strong domestic presence it's time to learn the basics of exporting. There are many new terms and concepts you'll need to understand.

What are the different types of exports?

  • Off-shore Sales
    You deal directly with an importer in the target market.
  • In-country Business Ownership
    An Australian business in association with a local business may establish a thrird party business entity to produce and distribute in the target market.
  • The transfer of Intellectual Capital
    The export potential may lie in the intellectual property associated with the development of a good or service (It is not always necessary for a product to be shipped overseas).
  • Tendering for Overseas Business
    By tendering for an overseas contract you enter a bid for a defined project.

What are the benefits and risks involved?

Benefits of taking your business overseas

  • Expands your business and spreads your risks;
  • Reduces dependence on the local market;
  • Uses excess production capacity;
  • Buffers against seasonal demand; and
  • Broadens your skill base, management practices, marketing techniques, and ways of competing.

Risks of taking your business overseas

  • Political risk - instability may result in default or blockage of payment or confiscation of property.
  • Legal risk - their legislation will affect all aspects of your business transactions.
  • Financing risk
    • Credit risk - whether the buyer will be able to pay.
    • Transfer risk - any economic, political or government restrictions.
    • Exchange risk - fluctuations in exchange rates.
  • Transport risk - damage, loss and theft.
  • Regulations and quarantine requirements - will vary between countries

What is an export strategy?

Your strategy should identify your export aims and the resources you need to achieve them. You should:

  • analyse your business, the export environment, your product and service offerings and potential markets; and
  • develop plans to implement your strategies and ways to evaluate their success.

It is essential to develop an export strategy before launching into an overseas market.

How important is market research?

Market research is about finding out what drives a market and how to access it. It will be a vital part of your exporting success.

In researching your export markets you'll need to find out about import duties, distribution channels, market size and growth, insurance and finance, documentation and freight and logistics. Completing market research will help you determine:

  • where you should export to;
  • your product's suitability for that market; and
  • any requirements you must meet in order for your product to gain entry.

How to know when you are ready to export?

There are numerous factors you will need to consider before you export your product. Some of these factors include time, money, knowledge, experience, capacity, employment, training, competition, price, quality and uniqueness.