Making the decision to export and take your business global can reap many rewards, but there are a few challenges that lie down this route too. But planning ahead and knowing your market can help you on the path to success.
Christopher Boys, CEO of export consultancy Katabolt, has had years of experience helping businesses realise their potential in offshore markets.
He cautions businesses against going into the export market too hastily. “Remember that it takes time, it takes cash flow, and you need to be committed to it for a long period of time – we’re talking about 18 months plus to see a return,” says Boys.
However, if you take a strategic approach, the success is worth it – “your business could triple by opening up the right market.”
Here, he gives a few tips on how businesses can stay on the right track:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
There are many companies in New Zealand that are there to help businesses entering this area for the first time. Katabolt is one of them – the company works with businesses to help them get export market ready, providing advice from industry leaders who are well connected. There’s also a wide range of other consultants and companies that can provide support and advice, such as New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and the New Zealand Trade Centre.
“They’ve done it and they’ve helped many, many clients,” says Boys. “It’s all about channels and relationships offshore.”
Understand the market
Boys says it’s important that businesses really research and understand their target markets, as well as actually speaking to people in those markets - it’s not enough to just go to a conference and come back with a “handful of business cards”.
Segment the market
According to Boys, this is a huge step that many businesses make the error of skipping. If you’re looking at going global, it’s important to start with an English-speaking country so you don’t have to go through the process of translating your product or service. Consider the country’s location in relation to New Zealand – is it feasible to fly your own staff across to that market, rather than having someone there full-time? Boys also says its important to look at markets for economic growth, and adoption of technology if it’s relevant to your business.