Through blood sweat and tears, you have built a sustainable business and have begun looking to the international market for business expansion and export assistance, but are you export ready? Determining the export readiness of your business relies entirely on your ability to ask the right questions. In this article, we will introduce you to some of the questions to which you should be seeking answers before you venture into exports.
Export readiness is really dependent on two separate issues: the first is the export capability of your company and the second is the commitment of management to the export initiative. To determine the export capability of your company you need to ask yourself, ‘Is my product of high quality? Do I have the production capacity to meet international demand and do I have the financial resources to sustain cashflow while I await payment?’ Remember, on the international stage, payment terms tend to be longer, orders are for larger quantities and products are often required to be of a higher quality. Another key consideration that is often grossly underestimated by new entrants to the export market, is the level of commitment needed by management to the export drive. Foreign market development is a long-term, relatively expensive exercise and must be paid for long before any export proceeds are received. Management will not only have to stay committed to the financial requirements of an export drive but also be resolute in tackling the many challenges that international expansion presents.
Chief amongst the challenges that management will encounter during an export drive is the plethora of changes that may need to be made to the day-to-day operations of the business. Different international markets have their own unique complications, regulatory requirements, consumer preferences and logistical hurdles. Thus, changes may have to be made to product labelling, product durability, production processes, sales strategies and even to the very staff who are employed by your business. The ability to implement these changes and make the right decisions early on is directly influenced by the commitment shown by management to not only the export drive but to seeking out the right information beforehand!
So, where do you go to ensure you are prepared for your export drive?
“Those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail” and you would be hard-pressed to find another field where that statement is more relevant than that of international trade. In order for you and your team to identify business shortcomings, determine your export readiness and prepare accordingly, you will need to be well versed in the demands of international markets. Fortunately, TFSA and the International Trade Institute of Southern Africa have developed an entire export readiness E-learning module, equipped with an export readiness assessment tool, that is designed to inform you of what you need to do to tackle international markets with all of your export assistance in a centralised location. Equipped with the right information, you will be on your way to export success in no time! Click the link below to get started.
To sign up to the School of Export CLICK HERE.
If you already have a profile, CLICK HERE to login to begin the module.