Are you ready to export?
Though the potential rewards are great, exporting is not without risks. Businesses that jump in too early run the risk of jeopardizing their current business activities. Before taking on this activity, you may want to see if you are export-ready.
Points to consider before exporting
Your first step to exporting is to think about the resources and knowledge your business already has and to consider changes you may need to make. Consider the following:
- Are your export objectives clear and achievable?
- Do you have a realistic idea of what exporting entails and what it takes to succeed?
- Are you open to new ways of doing business?
- Can your staff handle the extra demand associated with exporting?
- Is your team committed to succeeding in new markets?
- Can you respond quickly to customer inquiries?
- Do you have personnel with culturally-sensitive marketing skills?
- How will you deal with language barriers?
Financial and legal resources
- Can you obtain enough capital or lines of credit to produce the product or deliver the service?
- Will you find ways to reduce the financial risks of international trade?
- Do you have people to advise you on the legal and tax implications of exporting?
- How will you deal with different monetary systems?
- Is your intellectual property protected?
- Have you the resources to do market research?
- How do you plan to enter export markets?
- Is your product or service viable in your target market?
- Who already uses your product or service?
- Is it in broad general use or limited to a particular group?
- Is it popular with a certain age group?
- Are there other significant demographic patterns to its use?
- What climatic or geographic factors affect the use of your product or service?
- Are modifications required to make it appeal to foreign customers?
- What is its shelf life? Will this be reduced by time in transit?
- Is the packaging expensive? Can it be easily modified to satisfy the demands of foreign customers?
- Is special documentation required? Does it need to meet any technical or regulatory requirements?
- How easily can your product be transported?
- Would transportation costs make competitive pricing a problem?
- Does your product require professional assembly or other technical skills?
- Is after-sales service needed? If so, is it available locally or do you have to provide it? Do you have the resources to do this?
- If you are exporting services, what is unique or special about them?
- Are your services considered to be world-class?
- Do you need to modify your services to allow for differences in language, culture, or business environment?
- How do you plan to deliver your services: in person, with a local partner, or electronically?
- Can you serve both your existing domestic customers and your new foreign clients?
- Will you be able to look after your export customers if domestic demand increases, or vice versa?