Are you export ready?

Below is a guide, which companies may wish to use for self assessment, of what the Team Defence Australia (TDA) considers is necessary for a company to claim that it is export ready. Where a company feels that it cannot meet the export ready criteria they should approach Austrade, their State Government, other Federal Government programs or Industry Associations to join one of their mentoring programs which assist companies to become export-ready.

1. Market research

Some factors that might be considered include:

Product

  1. Does your company have the internationally recognised standards and certifications to bid in an overseas market?
  2. Are you aware of the strengths and weakness of your products compared to a competitors' in the planned market? If so, can you identify them?
  3. Have you identified the unique differential advantage of your product in light of perceived opportunities in the selected foreign market?
  4. Do you have a specialised product? If so you will need a close relationship with the buyer/customer.

Resources

  1. Do you have the resources and finances for a protracted marketing campaign?
  2. Can you get finance for your exports?
  3. Have you considered the impact of foreign currency on your export value of your product? If so do you need to address hedging against exchange rate fluctuations?
  4. Unless you are a large company with sufficient resources and with established exports it might be better to start with a few products in a few markets. Prioritise the markets according to perceived significance or risks.

Market

  1. Do you know what information to look for and likely sources? Do you need to get a consultant to assist with the research and marketing?
  2. If just considering the export market, you may wish to look at geographically and culturally close markets?
  3. Have you had enquiries from a market?
  4. Do you have specific objectives and time schedules for each market (for control and evaluation of progress)?
  5. Are you clear on what you are really offering and what is the benefit to the customer?
  6. Do you know who your customer is and their requirements?
  7. Is the customer military, government or commercial? The marketing approach is most likely different for each.
  8. Do know who the decision makers are in the customer's organisation? How do you plan to get access to them? Do you need Government/Defence support? What type of support?
  9. What networks does your company belong to that may assist you into the new markets?
  10. While it maybe possible to start up a business, and maybe even make money without having local presence, you should consider how you might tap into the full potential of a market by having, for example, local staff to interact with the customer.

Most of this research will inform the development of a business plan.

2. Product readiness and acceptance

Is your product in production, development or prototype stage?

  1. Has the product been sold to the Australian Defence Force?
  2. Have you sold your product commercially?
  3. Is the product under configuration control and reached a level of product maturity?
  4. Have you factored in any ability to enable customer tailoring?

3. Ownership of Intellectual Property

Does your company own all the Intellectual Property (IP) in the product?
If not do all the owners of the IP agree to the marketing of the product?

  1. Are there any licence restrictions?
  2. Does you product contain any United States IP, used in a military platform? If so, are you familiar with International Traffic in Arms Regulations?

4. Export business plan

Does the company have an export business plan which addresses:

  1. strategic importance of exporting to the company
  2. availability of finances (sources and hedging against currency fluctuations) and resources to sustain a long term effort to break into an overseas market
  3. appropriate standards and certifications for the market are in place
  4. ability to increase production - matching capability and capacity to a target market
  5. management experience in, and commitment to, export
  6. competitiveness of the product to be exported
  7. adaptability of the product to the target market
  8. choice of target market:
    1. market size and growth
    2. number and market share of competitors
    3. barriers to trade, including legal, regulatory and political
    4. risk management
    5. import requirements
    6. awareness of language, cultural and business customs
    7. market entry - options/targets
    8. promotional strategy and availability of promotional material
    9. distribution strategy
    10. appointment of agents/partners
    11. prices of product
    12. logistics
    13. customer service standards/support.

5. Export approval

If it is a controlled Defence or dual use product, does the company have export approval or approval in principle to export the product?