Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Rough guide to successful export ventures

As so many of the latest business opportunities I have been mentioning and possible still will, are export based, I thought a short rough guide to exporting may be useful.

Identify your customers abroad

It is only logical that in order to learn more about your clients, you need to know who they are.

Who or what do you plan to sell your product to?
How do customers perceive themselves?
How do you plan to acquire customers?
What distribution methods will you need?
What features do your customers want?
What are they prepared to pay?
What form of advertising and promotion will be effective to produce sales and sell the product?
What will promotion and advertising cost?
Where is your target customer most likely to buy your product?
How important is price to a customer?
How important are product or service quality and convenience to your customer?

Focus on customers' needs. Listen to your customer.

Why should anybody buy your product or service?
What is the benefit or improvement in their condition?
Whose life will be enriched?
Who will get the greatest improvement from your product or service?
With which customers does your competitive advantage make a difference?
With which customers does your competitive advantage make the biggest difference?

Create your marketing plan

It's time to plan your marketing abroad. For the complete Micro Module on this, go to Planing Your Marketing

Now that you have decided to take your product abroad, it is essential that you plan your marketing. Your marketing plan should include the following
A summary of your market position and goals.

A definition of what you expect to accomplish in a specific time period.

A list of target markets, including segmentation and niche areas.

An appropriate strategy for each segment or market.

Expenses and resources, and how they will be allocated.

Marketing channels. This is where you choose the types of marketing materials and distribution vehicles that you will use to attract target customers, including fliers, postcards, email marketing, newsletters, Web site and more.

Evaluate and select methods of distributing your product abroad.

You can choose from a variety of means for distributing your product, from opening company-owned foreign subsidiaries to working with agents, representatives and distributors and setting up joint ventures. Learn how to set prices, negotiate deals and navigate the legal morass of exporting. Cultural, social, legal and economic differences make exporting a challenge for business owners who have only operated in the United States.
Tap government and private sources of financing—and figure out ways to make sure you are getting paid. Financing is always an issue, but government interest in boosting exporting and centuries of financial innovation have made getting funding and getting paid easier than ever.

Make your move

Move your goods to their international market, making sure you package and label them in accordance with regulations in the market you are selling to. The globalization of transportation systems helps here, but regulations are still different everywhere you go.

Ensure that your goods are ensured and that you have made fool proof arrangements to get paid. A Goods-in-transit policy can protect you from theft, loss or damage caused by accidents during transit and in some cases the consequences of any resulting delay. As with other forms of insurance, you will need to agree on the value of the goods. If the goods are new then this shouldn't’t be too much of a problem. You should check the type of cover being offered. New for old is obviously the better option but it can be expensive and you must ensure that you value the goods at their replacement rather than actual value.


Of course you can always find a suitable partner or partners in the countries you want to export to. This often the best option, especially if the other party can carry - or help you carry the financial risk.

Ensure effective payment mechanisms are in place. Getting the money across, especially with todays tight money laundering laws, can be a frustrating process.

For more help or advise on this, contact us at Info@SABusinessHub.co.za


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