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You are here: Export Assistance > Export Guides  
List of Export Guides


In this section we provide your with a choice of export guides. To begin with, we provide you with our own ExportHelp 21-step guide to the export process. This is a comprehensive guide written for South African exporters. We have tried to provide links, where relevant, to local providers of services (such as banks, freight forwarders, export agents, etc.). We have also tried to make this guide as comprehensive and as easy to understand as possible. Hopefully you will find this guide useful! The 21 steps are also listed as a drop-down menu on the right-hand side of all web pages in this site.

However, if you are looking for other guides or other perspectives on exporting, then we have searched out a whole host of other export guides available on the Internet. These are listed below.

Click here to see the list of other export guides.

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 exporting
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 business viability
If you are not surviving in your current business, then don't expect exports to save you!

Step 3: Export readiness
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 the goods
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 documentation
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 support
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 paid
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 this process.
Step 21: Export management
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.

Additional links

This "Basic Guide to Exporting" is a simple online document that covers quite a lot of issues (more than most). It is written from a US perspective and so includes examples that are not always relevant to South Africa.

Trade and Investment Kwazulu-Natal
These guides cover the following:

  • Export and Import Flow Charts
  • Export Help System
  • Export Administration

This is California's export portal and their export tutorial is quite comprehensive, but some sections are very long to read online. Although it has a US perspective, it has been written in such a way that it remains a good guide for any exporter.

South Africa's DTI
Published under the title 'Learn to Export', this guide provides some broad guidelines by the South African Department of Trade and Industry. Unfortunately, the information is too general to be of real value to the serious exporter.

'Guide to Exporting' is one of the better guides to exporting from South Africa. Mbendi's focus is primarily on trade with Africa, but it is one of the more comprehensive business portals in the country.

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Learning to export... The export process in 21 easy steps
Step 1: Considering exporting
Step 2:Current business viability
Step 3:Export readiness
Step 4:Broad mission statement and initial budget
Step 5:Confirming management's commitment to exports
Step 6: Undertaking an initial SWOT analysis of the firm
Step 7:Selecting and researching potential countries abroad
Step 8: Preparing and implementing your export plan
Step 9: Obtaining financing for your exports
Step 10: Managing your export risk
Step 11: Promoting the firm and its products abroad
Step 12: Negotiating and quoting in exports
Step 13: Revising your export costings and price
Step 14: Obtaining the export order
Step 15: Producing the goods
Step 16: Handling the export logistics
Step 17: Export documentation
Step 18: Providing follow-up support
Step 19: Getting paid
Step 20: Reviewing and improving the export process
Step 21: Export Management
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