No company is too small to take on the world and export their product. In fact, according to Austrade, one quarter of new exporters are “born globals” – and if you’re not familiar with that term, that means typically small- or mid-sized companies that rapidly gain international acclaim before making much of a splash (if any) in their home markets.
So, why is this? The ease at which companies can now sell their goods to consumers around the world is in many ways responsible. Thanks to the internet, businesses can engage their key customers in other countries online, and that includes taking their orders with the click of a button. Likewise, the internet powers many companies’ services themselves – think Netflix, Airbnb, and Spotify (all born globals, by the way) – which again means that they are easily marketable worldwide.
Of course, even with the internet on your side, breaking into new markets overseas takes time, hard work and dedication. But you stand to benefit greatly when you do; research shows that exporting businesses are on average more profitable.
By exporting, you can:
- grow your bottom line
- reduce your dependence on local markets
- become more competitive in the domestic market
- increase the value of your business
- keep profitable throughout the year, despite seasonal buying habits
- learn new business practices and techniques.
Here are a few key points to consider if you’re an Australian manufacturing business looking to make your mark on the global stage.
Is there a export market for your product?
There’s no use pushing a product where it’s not needed. As soon as your manufacturing business considers exporting, think first about where your product could flourish overseas. Where is it most likely to be in demand? What about your product is unique in this market?
Many businesses choose to consult an expert for in-depth market research, but the Austrade website is a great place to start. Here, you can access detailed market profiles on different countries and industries to learn more about demand and regulations.
Essentially, key factors you will need to understand of your potential new market are:
- size and growth
- local production
- distribution channels.
Ensure, too, that you identify any market-specific risks and challenges, so that you can be well prepared to manage them.
Can you meet demand competitively?
To prime your business for consistent success in a foreign market, you must ensure you can compete with local suppliers, not only on price but also on quality. As you research, understand your competitors’ pricing structures and whether you’re fit to compete.
To help you be as competitive as you can be, you should adopt tools that provide total transparency of your project costs. Here at WorkGuru, for example, we’re keen to support manufacturing businesses on their export journey and have enhanced features for this very purpose.
WorkGuru provides accurate insights into every cost involved in every project – the actual cost of inventory, labour, and other inputs. With this info, you can know how to price your goods competitively and make a profit, and pinpoint where your operations need fine tuning. (Poor inventory control, for example, is where we see a lot of manufacturing businesses losing money.)
Once you’ve refined your processes with this information, you can then ramp up your production, while maintaining quality, and begin to scale your business in your overseas market.
What’s your export plan?
Once you’ve determined that there’s a viable market for your product overseas, and that your manufacturing business has the resources, skills, and information to support successful exporting, you should begin to map out how, exactly, you’ll enter that new market.
You can enter a new market in a variety of ways, including:
- by opening an office or shop
- through selling online from your website or a third-party platform
- through an agent or distributor
- direct to a retailer
- through a joint venture with a local business.
It helps to designate a staff member to support your overseas launch, ensuring that they have the time to develop intimate knowledge of the logistics and the culture and business practices of the country you’re selling to. They’ll need to be prepared to travel.
You must also consider your transport options, and how to keep compliant with each country’s import requirements. This can get tricky, particularly as it involves a lot of paperwork. You’ll always need to clearly identify the full contents of your cargo and where the goods were grown, produced, or manufactured.
Again, tools like WorkGuru can ensure your manufacturing business stays compliant with handy features that keep track of and trace your input materials with ease.
Exporting is a proven strategy to successfully expand a manufacturing business, but you must be well prepared. Software like WorkGuru can support your success in overseas markets by helping you to stay efficient, competitive, and compliant.
For more, talk to our experts.