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You are here: Step 2: Current business viability > Your business viability checklist  
Your business viability checklist

These are some of the questions you need to answer: Be honest - if you are not honest with your answers, you are only hurting yourself. You may also want to get one or two other persons to complete this checklist (perhaps another person from inside the firm and someone outside the firm that you know well and that knows your firm well, and that will give you an honest evaluation).

In this checklist, we have listed the questions that you need to consider on the left-hand side. In the "score" column, you must give your firm a score of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the highest). Under the "yes/no" column indicate a "yes" if you think that your firm can answer "yes" with confidence to the questions, otherwise leave it blank if it is a "no".. Under the additional explanation heading you need to justify the score you have given yourself with a small explanation - you need only write down a sentence or two for the sake of clarity. At the bottom of the checklist, add up all of your scores, as well as all the "yes's". Your total score should at least be above 60 and you should also have a "yes" for all of the questions - if not, then you need to first focus on improving that area of operation of your current business before going into exports.

Additional explanation

Is your firm successful?

This is broad judgement based on your gut feel. You are suggesting that your firm is growing, is profitable and is cash-flush. You are able to compete against your best competitors and you have a unique product range that you sell nationally. Your firm also has areas of excellence that sets your firm aside from its competitors (e.g. excellent customer services, excellent product quality, innovative products, good administration, etc.)


Are your sales growing?

If you look at your sales over the past three years, have they been growing? Is this growth better than that of your competitors? Is this growth likely to continue?



Is your firm profitable?

Do you make profits? Have you do an extensive costing exercise to identify all of your costs. Are your profits in line with those of your competitors?



Do you have a positive cash flow?

Do you regularly go into overdraft to pay for your day-to-day operations, or are you able to pay your own way? Do you currently have cash in the bank? Are most of your capital goods paid for?



Does your firm operate nationally?

Do you sell your goods throughout the country regularly or in one or two regions only? If you are not selling nationally, why not? Do have branches or representatives in other parts of the country that can sell and service your products?



Does your product have unique features?

What makes your product stand out from the competition, besides for price? Is the quality exceptional? Do you have an innovative design, perhaps?



What are your firm's competitive advantages over the competition?

What aspects of your firm make it different and unique, when compared with the competition? Are you an innovative company? Are you an extremely efficient company? Are you very good marketing company or is your product processes extremely efficient?



Has your firm exhausted all of its opportunities within the local market?

Are there unexplored opportunities still present in the home market?





If you can answer "yes" truthfully to all of these questions, then you are ready to export. But only then!

Getting help to turn your company around

If you cannot answer "yes" to these questions, then you should leave exports well alone and get on with ensuring the success of your current business. But you may ask, "who will help me with this"?

On the next page we provide a list of actions that you could follow to help you improve your current business, as well as organisations you could turn to for help.

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Step 2: Current business viability
      Checklist: Business viability
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More information on Step 2
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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