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Browman Newsletter

Taking The Export Plunge

How do I know when my company is export-ready? What are the signs? When an overseas customer calls, should we jump?

Even having the sense to ask these questions indicates a level of management maturity that is one of the prerequisites to building a successful and sustainable export business.

Achieving export-readiness involves undertaking a comprehensive but focused audit of your company's export-management ability and preparedness, as well as testing your resolve and commitment to developing export markets. This includes issues from human and financial assets to unused or underused production capacities, as well as the firm's current plans and strategic objectives.

Assuming everyone is onside and preliminary assessment is positive, here are 10 questions to consider as an export-readiness checklist:

1. Why does your company want to export?
2. Has your company exported before? What did you learn from the experience?
3. Has your company developed an export plan?
4. Have you researched potential markets?
5. Have you thoroughly crunched through all the numbers- from pricing to marketing costs to shipping?
6. Have you identified and assessed all your competitors?
7. Has your market-entry strategy been proven out? Have you test-marketed and explored all options?
8. Have you worked out the logistics (basically, all supply chain issues such as transportation, packing and order-taking)?
Who will be involved and in charge of export activity?
What experience or export training do your key personnel have? Complications can pile up quickly for amateur exporters.

Some of this may seem simplistic, but being an exporter requires a solid commitment to actively and aggressively selling goods and services in the sharp teeth of international competition - not just selling surplus production abroad when it suits.

Oh, and if you do get "expressions of interest" from foreign customers, definitely pursue them. These opportunities are ways to begin planning and formalizing export activity, and that's how the whole process usually starts.

Author: Peter Dawes - Warrington International Import Export Trading Inc.

Using the Internet for Exporting

The internet is an indispensable tool for exporters, and is without doubt the most pervasive change in the export world today. Businesses are leveraging the Internet’s speed, convenience, and reduced costs to assess their potential on the global playing field.

Ten years ago, export ventures were based on supply/demand ratios in foreign markets, often with little information. Today, the Internet enables companies to easily access data they want, carry out market research, and arrive at good decisions on global export opportunities. In addition, a Web-driven assessment of global markets allows small businesses to achieve time & cost savings, as well as improved productivity.

The WWW is changing the way companies enter the export market. Even if your firm isn’t ready for exports, it’s presence on the Internet can create interest from foreign buyers, thus enabling the company to assess the feasibility of “exporting”.

As ( B2B ) applications have taken center stage in the world of e-commerce, it accounts for a large part of the export profile. Businesses can take advantage of the Internet to purchase materials, exchange services, an carry out unlimited on-line transactions with companies overseas. The Internet is an ideal tool for searching out strategic alliances and finding partners to participate in export ventures. Entrepreneurs searching for distribution means can expediently access information to discover routes in foreign markets. The WWW creates an entire world of business opportunity. If you’re not ready right now, you better get going!

Author: P. Browman

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