Having been “accidentally exporting” for some time, a business has opened up about the true costs of establishing exporting as a viable business strategy.
“I would call it more accidental exports. A lot of our early exports, when I say accidental, I mean someone’s come across this somehow over the internet or some sort of search, and they’ve wanted to place an order for some product, and we sent it to them, as opposed to us developing it and chasing a particular market,” explains Anton Pemmer of Bottles of Australia.
It is a situation familiar to many business owners, where online customers from outside of Australia find their website or products and begin placing orders.
However, taking advantage of this growth opportunity and actively developing it as a route to market takes much more skill than that initial luck, says Anton.
“One thing’s to say, ‘Yes, you’re getting involved with exporting.’ The next question is, how much are you prepared to invest within a market to actually try and develop that market to work for you?,” he says.
“One of the [mistakes] that we made in the early days was doing one trip to one country and hoping to sell into that market, but never going back. Or, if we did go back, it was only over the phone or via email.
“I think if you decide that you’re going to get involved with exporting, no matter how you’re going to do it, to what market, whether it’s a large market or a small market, you need to be able to say, ‘I’m committed to this market for two years. I’m committed for at least full market visits in person, to press a palm’.”
That commitment, Anton admits, requires significant monetary and time investment, which can be daunting and even off-putting in the early stages of the export journey.
“Let’s face it, every trip is going to cost you between $5,000 and $10,000 to do that. If you’re not prepared to do that, then it’s probably better for you to save your money because you won’t get anywhere with it otherwise.”
Hear more first-hand insights from Anton on growing an export business, including the mistakes he made and what he has learnt along the way, on the My Business Podcast below:
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.