Finding a starting point for exporting can be a problem for the small businessperson. They want to know if there is a market for their product overseas, what kind of competition they face, and the amount of sales they can expect.
The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce (Export Department) believes answers to these questions usually start with identifying markets where they should focus their efforts. Once primary target markets have been identified, they need to identify whom to contact in a foreign market that might be interested in their product.
In addition you should also consider the following:
- Complete a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis of your company;
- Market Information Readiness: gather market information to ensure you are informed of market and trading conditions in the export target market;
- Management Readiness: ensure you and your team are committed and geared to pan and implement the export initiative;
- Product Management Readiness: ensure your products and production process are geared to meet the requirements of the target market;
- Resource Readiness: ensure your business has access to sufficient resources to support the export initiative
- Transactional Readiness: ensure your business is geared to embark on export sales transactions
Preparation is essential for any firm contemplating a new market, whether foreign or domestic. Before beginning any new venture a business plan should be completed and management commitment confirmed. The same preparation is necessary when selling overseas. With more than 117 markets available, an international marketing plan is necessary to focus the efforts and resources of the firm. Normally the first task is to reduce this huge market potential to approximately twenty primary target markets. These can be preliminarily identified through the statistical information and reports received from government sources, particularly in the National Trade Data Bank. Then the proper market-entry strategies must be selected and the international Marketing plan drafted.
The creation of a carefully researched plan is widely considered to be the secret to success in exporting. Your plan should be your source of direction as you embark on your journey into foreign markets helping you to act rather than react to the challenges and risks encountered in international business. Additionally your plan can help you to obtain financial assistance, investors or other strategic partners that may be required to make your export venture a success.
An export plan comprises of many elements such as; a description of your company, its market and industry, and your business objectives; information on your products or services; an analysis of the target market and industry, including trends and forecasts; an examination of the competition and their strengths and weaknesses in contrast to your own; international marketing strategies, including customer profiling and the development of sales and distribution channels; employment and training issues; financial requirements and forecasts; and much more.
GUIDING QUESTIONS FOR EXPORT PLANNING
|Question (Yes / No)|
|1. Do you have an available product?|
|2. Do you have a product that has been successfully sold in the domestic market?|
|3. Do you have enough production capacity to meet local and export market demands?|
|4. Do you have the financial foundation to support your product in the export market?|
|5. Are you committed to the export process and prepared to dedicate staff, time and resources to the export effort?|
|6. Do you or anyone in your company have experience in exporting?|
|7. If “No” to Q.6 above, are you prepared to hire the relevant experts to help your company develop export capability?|
|8. Do you have sufficient knowledge in modifying your packaging and ingredients to meet the requirements of the export market and consumer tastes?|
|9. Do you have any knowledge or experience in transporting goods overseas whether by land, sea or air?|
|10. Have you hired or do you intend to hire a customs broker or freight forwarder?|
|11. Do you have satisfactory knowledge of export payment mechanisms and procedures?|
|12. Are you able to provide after-sales support in your overseas market?|
|13. Can your product meet and better its competition in the export market?|
|14. Have you conducted any research on your target market?|
|15. Have you hired a sales representative/distributor/agent in the target market?|
|16. Do you have a partnership with a firm in the export market?|
|17. Is your product currently being marketed in the overseas market?|
|18. Have you translated all your promotional material and labels in the language of your export market?|
|Total Number of “Yes” and “No”|