|Learning to export: The export process in
21 easy steps...
Notwithstanding all the benefits of exporting,
it remains a complicated process that is fraught with
risks. It is not a question of simply becoming an exporter
from one day to the next. There are many steps involved
in the process of becoming a succesful exporter and each
of these steps may have several sub-components to it.
The 21 steps to exporting are highlighted below:
|Step 1: Considering
Thinking about exporting? Then get yourself up to speed
by understanding why you want to export, what the difference
is between domestic marketing and export marketing, what
the various environments are that you will encounter in
international trade and the trade barriers you may face
in the international marketplace.
|Step 2: Current
If you are not surviving in your current business, then
don't expect exports to save you!
Step 3: Export
Besides for having an existing business base (i.e. a viable
business) to build on, there are several other factors
that contribute to your readiness to export. See if you
are ready to export!
|Step 4: Broad
mission statement and initial budget
If you're ready to export, then you need to set a broad
statement indicating that intention to export (which you
may revise later), and you will also identify a small budget
that will allow you to do the research and preparation necessary
to implement an export plan.
|Step 5: Confirming
management's committment to exporting
Probably one of the main reasons why firms fail in exporting
is because their senior managers only pay lip service to
the firms' export efforts. This is not enough! Get management
to commit on paper to the firm's exports efforts and have
them approve the budget you submitted for your export research
(see step 4). Don't go a step further without this.
|Step 6: Undertaking
an initial SWOT analysis of the firm
Before you can prepare your export plan, you need to take
into consideration your firm's strengths and weaknesses,
as well as the opportunities and threats facing your firm.
This constitutes a SWOT (strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats)
analysis. Once you have adressed these issues, you will
be in a better position to undertake meaningful research
and to prepare an effective export plan.
|Step 7: Selecting
and researching potential countries abroad
Your management is committed to exports and you have done
a SWOT analysis of the firm. Now you need to select one
or two countries to focus on and then you need to research
the markets in these countries to determine what potential
they offer your firm.
Step 8: Preparing
and implementing your export plan
You have analysed and segmented the marketplace and perhaps
even identified potential importers to do business with.
Your understanding of this marketplace is greatly improved.
Now you need to prepare an export marketing plan to take
advantage of the opportunities in the marketplace.
|Step 9: Obtaining
financing for your exports
Exporting is a time-consuming and expensive exercise. You
will to fiance your export endeavours from the first and
this could amount to huindreds of thousands of rands. Unless
your company has ready cash or financing available, you
will need to give consideration to how you finance your
export efforst. In this section we discuss some of the sources
of financing avaialble to you.
Step 10: Managing
your export risk
When you negotiate and eventually sign an export contract,
you need to be aware that you are committing your firm
to certain responsibilities (such as delivering on time
and according to a certain standard) and that you are
making certain assumptions about your business partner
(that they will pay, for example). These responsibilities
and assumptions represent a serious risk for your firm
and you need to be aware of what these risks are and you
need to take steps to manage these risks as best possible.
|Step 11: Promoting
the firm and its products abroad
This involves letting the world know about your firm
and what it offers and there are many promotional channels
that you could use (such as advertising in trade magazines,
e-mail marketing or participating in a trade fair, etc.).
The channel you use will depend on promotional strategy
you outlined in your export plan.
|Step 12: The selling proces - negotiating and quoting in exports
You need to approach your customers, convince them to buy
from you, negotiate a deal and price that that they find
acceptable, and present them with a quote (usually in the
form of a proforma invoice). All of these steps are embodied
in the export selling process.
|Step 13: Revising
your export costings and price
More often than not, you will need to revisit your costings
abd try and achieve a keener price if you want that order.
We provide you with help with the costing process and suggest
ways in which you can save costs.
|Step 14: Obtaining
the export order
You've done everything you can and the buyer is also convinced.
He/she agrees to the order. Hurrah!!
|Step 15: Producing
Finally! You've got the order. Now you have to produce the
goods. Not much for us to tell you here - this is your area
of expertise. We have provided you with a few tips to bear
in mind and a few links from where you can get more assistance.
|Step 16: Handling
the export logistics
The goods are ready to be dispatched. You now have to figure
figure out the best way to get the products to the customer.
At this point, you need to consider alternative forms of
trasnportation, as well as other logisitics matters.
|Step 17: Export
Going hand-in-hand with logistics is the necessary documentation
to get the product out of the country and into the country
of destination. The paperwork involved in exporting is often
a major headache for exporters and in this section we try
make it easier for you.
|Step 18: Providing
Follow-up is very important in exports, especially if you
want repeat business. You have to ensure that your customer
was happy and if not you need to address any shortcomings.
This section also deals with matters such as product servicing,
product warranties and providing spare parts.
Step 19: Getting
Getting the order, making and delivering are all key steps
in the export process. They all cost money, however. The
only way you will make money, is to get paid. In this
section we look at the various emthods of payment in exports.
|Step 20: Reviewing
and improving the export process
We have tried to provide you with all the information and
guidelines you need to deal with the complex export process.
It is not to say that what we have outlined is perfect for
your firm - every exporter is unique. You need to go back
over the process and decide for yourself how you can improve
Your one-off export contract has turned into a steady stream
of export orders. You now have to begin managing the export
activities in your firm. We provide you with guidelines
on how to do this.