Business101: Considerations to keep in mind when you venture into the export market
Recovery and Reconstruction Plan has highlighted strategic localisation, industrialisation and export promotion as some of its priorities to bring the country back on track.
There is a commitment to support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), review trade agreements, and pursue other strategic partnerships to secure new markets for exports. While not a quick fix, exporting can be a lucrative way to expand your business in the long term. They have a potential to achieve economies of scale and spread costs over a larger volume of revenue. Here are some considerations to bear in mind when looking to start exporting goods as a small business: Offering Ascertain whether there is international appetite for your product. Adapt your offering slightly on packaging and price point to better suit the requirements of other markets. It may be useful to conduct an analysis of your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Consider taking the quiz on The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition website to help evaluate if you are export-ready. Regulation Understand and adhere to all relevant regulations to avoid fines in South Africa and your target country. Get information on required permits, business and property registration processes, credit requirements, tax legislation and the labour market regulations. Protection Laws that are applicable to your business in South Africa may not necessarily apply in other regions. Identify laws that are in place to protect your business. Develop robust contracts and use local attorneys to ensure that terms can be enforced. Register your Intellectual Property – a term that describes the application of the mind to develop something new or original – in your country and the targeted regions to protect your branding, such as a logo, from being copied. Behaviour Research and understand the nuances of each new region in order to trade successfully. For example, on the African continent alone, there are 54 different countries representing a unique market with differing challenges and intricacies. Identify potential language barriers or find local partners or staff that you can rely on, who will need to be trained on your business values and who can, in turn, bring you up to speed regarding the local market and act as translators.
Ben Bierman is a managing director at Business Partners Limited