Expanding your business internationally could be the key to achieving enormous growth, profit and sustainability. For example, exporting from South Africa could allow you to mitigate the risks of strained demand locally. Furthermore, while the depreciation of the South African rand has negatively impacted the international purchasing power of South Africans, it could positively impact the price competitiveness of South African exporters in foreign markets through a favourable foreign exchange rate for foreign buyers. However, pouring resources and time into marketing for exports before you are ready could hurt your business. This article introduces a few key considerations you should make before embarking on an international marketing initiative.
You need to be Export ready before Marketing for Exports
Are you truly export ready, or do you just think you are? Far too often, great domestic businesses believe their local success will automatically translate into foreign market success. Unfortunately, it is never quite that simple. There are countless examples of fantastic local businesses that have been battered in the international market and lost millions simply because they were not ready! As we discussed in our “5 challenges to anticipate in export sales” article, the international market poses significant challenges. For example, language barriers, cultural differences, complex legal and political environments, differing climates and a plethora of documentation and technical requirements could all negatively impact your chances of success. Thus, before you even consider marketing for exports, you need to ensure that your product and company are export capable and that your management team is completely committed to your export initiative. Spending resources on adapting your product, production processes and management expertise to suit the international market before marketing for exports will save you time, money, and grey hair.
You need to do all the Required International Marketing Research
You have not built your domestic business on hopes, wishes and guessing, so you shouldn’t approach your international expansion any differently. Marketing for exports requires a tremendous amount of research and the careful construction of a detailed and accurate export marketing plan. Your export marketing plan includes the where, who and how of marketing internationally; without it, you might as well be throwing money in a hole.
You need to be Prepared for International Marketing results
Before you begin implementing your export marketing plan, you need to be familiar with how international trade takes place. What is the point of generating enquiries from international buyers if you don’t know how to process your buyers’ orders? Successfully fulfilling your buyer’s order requires an understanding of several factors. For example, you need to know how to negotiate an international sales contract, choose the most appropriate mode of transport, understand your obligations under a particular Incoterm® and opt for the correct international payment method.
Successfully engaging in foreign trade is more important than you think
The truth is that exporting your products to international markets is good for your business and great for your country’s economy. It could even be argued that exporters are the most socially impactful businesses for any economy. The reason is that exporting your products brings in valuable foreign currency, creates jobs and increases the competitiveness of your country’s economy. However, to achieve success, you need to have the knowledge and information necessary to navigate the complex landscape of the global economy.
You don’t have to do it alone! Export Assistance is available
The International Trade Institute of Southern Africa and Trade Forward Southern Africa have created the TFSA School of Export as a FREE online resource for export assistance. The School of Export offers online learning modules on a variety of topics related to international trade. For example, our’ Introduction to International Marketing’ module will assist you with marketing for exports, our ‘Choosing the Right Mode of Transport’ module will help you choose the most appropriate mode of transport for your export consignment, and our ‘Incoterms®’ module will explain the details of the ICC Incoterms® 2020 rules. Don’t leave your business’s international success up to chance; join our community, and let’s grow your business and the economy together!
To sign up to the School of Export CLICK HERE.
If you already have a profile, CLICK HERE to login to begin the module.