Tips for first time exporters

Workman inspecting rolls of cable

Successful exporters know that expanding into offshore markets can bring significant rewards.

They also warn that building an offshore business takes time, energy, commitment and money.

We want your export business to succeed and there are many things that you will need to consider as a first-time exporter or when building a sustainable export business.

We have compiled a list of important tips to help you get started or even to grow your business.

Building a successful export business

1. Seek advice

The most important advice for any would-be exporter is: before you do anything, get advice!

Get advice from your accountant, banker and other successful exporters. Government and industry agencies such as NSW Trade & Investment also provide advice, services and assistance, much of which is free.

2. What do you want to achieve?

  • What do you hope to achieve through export?
  • New markets?
  • Economies of scale?
  • Increased competitive advantage?
  • Is your product or service ideally suited to overseas customers?

3. How committed are you?

Do you have the time, energy and resources to tackle exporting? It takes time and money to build the business; will your board, investors, management and family support the plan?

4. Research your target market

Plan a visit to your target market to learn about demand, competitors and entry requirements. You should consider:

  • demographics
  • economic conditions
  • market conditions
  • legal and regulatory environment
  • business culture and practices
  • competitor businesses

5. Analyse your market

  • Does your product or service suit the market?
  • Have you identified the people who will buy your product or service?
  • What do you do that makes you stand out from the crowd?
  • How big is your export potential?

6. Create a marketing plan

  • How will you market your product or service to overseas customers?
  • What is your unique selling proposition?
  • Can you adapt your Australian marketing materials or will you need to rethink your approach?
  • Is your website ready for international business?

7. Develop an export plan

  • Trading overseas is different to doing business in Australia
  • Customers have different tastes and needs
  • Product exporters need to consider different labelling and product regulations.
  • Plan ahead and develop an export plan so your chances of success are increased and the risk of loss is reduced.

8. Assess your capability

  • Do you have people with the right skills to grow your export business?
  • Will you need to bring new people into the business?
  • Will you need special licences or qualifications to operate overseas?
  • What training will your people need?

9. Determine your capacity

  • Do you have the capacity to respond to increased orders?
  • Will you need more resources or equipment?
  • How will you ship goods overseas?
  • How will you service your domestic and export markets?

10. Finance options

  • You will need financial resources and the means to fund market development.
  • How much will you need to invest?
  • How will you maintain your domestic cash-flow to fund export market-entry?
  • Remember it is likely to take time to reach break-even and several years to recover the costs of market-entry.

Further Information

Export Plan Template

Export Readiness Card (448.2 KB)