Earlier this year NZTE launched a new service specifically for early-stage exporters called Export Essentials. Matt Wooster walks you through the programme.
Building an international business from New Zealand is tough – we are often a long way from the countries we want to sell our products and services in. This makes understanding those markets and getting a presence on the ground there difficult. Perhaps it’s for these reasons that our international teams often see Kiwi companies turning up in-market unprepared.
With the amount of time and money put into developing international business, it’s critical to get the basics right. This is especially true for New Zealand businesses as the vast majority are small-to-medium sized who have limited resources. New Zealand has approximately 12,000 exporting companies, with about 11,000 of these earning less than $5 million a year in international revenue. So there is a lot of untapped potential.
We know small businesses managers or owners are short on time, often have multiple roles and face a constant struggle to get ahead of the game and think about the bigger picture.
That is why earlier this year New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) launched a new service specifically for early-stage exporters called Export Essentials. The aim is to help these businesses learn or get a reminder about the fundamentals of becoming a successful export business by building their export readiness and capability.
Export Essentials has two elements. Ten online guides cover the basics of exporting that businesses can work through in their own time and pace and are available on our NZTE website. There is also a hands-on, collaborative two-day workshop where participants learn proven methods for successful exporting and leave with practical tools that they can apply directly to their business.
The workshop series seems to be hitting the mark. A number of companies say they are taking a more structured approach to market validation, market selection and their international distribution strategy, as a result of their learnings. Likewise, the Export Essentials guides were downloaded almost 1,500 times in a few short months.
To make sure Export Essentials would provide real benefits to Kiwi exporters, we worked closely with our industry partners who also support exporting companies to ensure there was no duplication of what is already available in market. We also tested and refined the content of the guides and workshops with some of our current customers to make sure it was right.
Our aim in time is that more companies will arrive in-market better prepared, better equipped and more likely to succeed in competitive international markets.
We work closely with private sector partners in delivering the Export Essentials programme. KPMG is one of them, here are their top tips for successful exporting:
• Develop clear and concise value propositions – they need to be relevant to your export market customers and consumers. What works for one market may not be relevant in another.
• Understand the value chain – work backwards from your customer to understand the margins for each step of the process. Be very clear of the benefits that each partner adds to your business.
• Know your numbers – exporting is a large investment so you need to be sure that it is going to drive a positive return. Understand what your export journey will look like – markets, timeliness, stages etc.
• Do your due diligence on channel partners upfront – they are an extension of your sales force so you need to back winners.
Matt Wooster is Director Regional Business Partners & Foundation Services for NZTE.