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Getting ready for export

Austrade’s International Readiness Indicator
This is an online tool for new exporters and has been designed to help Australian businesses determine whether their business is ready for exporting. Further information is available. 

It’s important to consider if your business is ready and to be sure that you understand exactly what exporting entails before you start.

Exporting consumes time and money, and requires strong management commitment.  In the initial stages management are usually diverted from existing domestic business but for many companies, this short term stress will provide longer term rewards.

To achieve success, you need to have a plan and remain in control of your business, and not let the business control you. 

What does it take to be ready for international business?

To have a successful international business, you need a product or service which is in demand in overseas markets, as well as the necessary commitment, resources, skills and information to support sustained exporting activities over the longer term.

The following are key signs your business is well on its way to being export ready:

  • Significant management time and strong management commitment
    Developing an international business is no different to starting and building your domestic business; in fact, you can expect it to consume more management time than developing business at home.

    Exporting requires substantial commitment from management across the business, not just from the CEO or sales manager.
  • Strength in the domestic market
    In most cases, solid domestic sales form the basis of a good exporting business. 

    A successful domestic business gives overseas buyers confidence in you as a supplier and will ensure that your business processes are in place and well tested.

    Importantly, strength in the domestic market will also provide you with cash flow and the working capital you need to invest in developing your export markets.
  • The resources to succeed
    Exporters find they need strong financial resources to expand overseas to cover the costs of product modifications, travel and international marketing, to name just a few of the additional costs you might face.

    You also need to have the right people in place to run the export side of your business, and that may mean additional staff.
  • Business and export planning
    Many smaller companies don’t get around to formal business planning, but once you start exporting you are moving your business to a different level, so it is wise to consider putting these plans in place.

    If you do not have an Export Plan, the information available in Austrade’s Export Strategy and Planning guide (www.austrade.gov.au/export-strategy/default.aspx) will take you through the key elements.
  • Export knowledge and skills
    To export successfully you will need to learn about a wide range of issues such as how foreign markets operate, export documentation and foreign currency management.

    Read Austrade’s information about markets (www.austrade.gov.au/Country/default.aspx) around the world (and use the ‘How to Export’ guides (www.austrade.gov.au/How-to-export/default.aspx) to help increase your export knowledge and skills.

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Checklist 

Getting ready for export

Take a course in export basics.

Get your objectives right and commitment will follow.

Make a list of your concerns and discuss them with advisers.

Talk to your banker and accountant about your export plans.

Develop a list of agencies that can help.

Talk to an Export Adviser who can work with you through the process. Call 13 28 78.

Websites provide real insights into your competition.

Export Finance Navigator

EFIC

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