Australia Map On A Globe With Earth Map In The Background
Credit: Australia map on a globe with earth map in the background
Expanding abroad is an ideal way for SMEs to increase
profitability and diversify their market base, providing businesses with
greater product demand and enhanced growth opportunities.
With free trade agreements already in effect with key markets and a significant agreement between Australia and the European Union currently being negotiated, businesses can access new markets in a more streamlined and cost-effective manner.
Before beginning the export process, there are four key
steps SMEs should take:
Understanding if a market supports your commercial
objectives is essential. Before beginning to find a foreign partner or
distributor, SMEs need to understand sector-specific growth opportunities, notable
trends such as consumer spending habits as well as short and long-term market
risks. Based on these insights businesses can make strategic decisions about which
market best suits their business goals.
New markets provide new sets of competitors. Competitor
research allows SMEs to compare their own product to successful and
unsuccessful examples, ascertain if there is a gap in the market that could be
met by their product or service and assess price ranges. Importantly, evaluating
competitors also indicates if there is an aspect of the SME’s product that
needs to be revisited before export.
It is important that SMEs identify the laws,
regulations and requirements of specific markets. For example, it is likely
that an investment will need to be made to ensure a product’s packaging meets
certain conditions such as organic certifications, perishable goods labelling, product
warning statements and waste legislation. SMEs will save both time and money by
identifying these obligations early on in the export process.
Brand and marketing overview
Selling abroad is not the same as selling within the
Australian market. If searching for a distribution partner an SME will need to
prove that their product is commercially viable. Therefore, as a minimum,
businesses need to have a website and social media presence tailored for individual
markets in order to communicate that their product has a demand. Without a comprehensive
digital presence and strong brand identity, finding a partner is challenging.
Exporting is a logical step for SMEs looking to
increase long-term profitability. However, it’s important to consider that expanding
abroad requires a significant investment in terms of financial resources, time
and commitment. Preparation is key, and having a comprehensive understanding of
the chosen market – opportunities, risks, competitors, regulatory standards,
trends – is fundamental.
Taylee Lewis, Head of Australia & Asia-Pacific Division, ClassNet