In this section, we play hardball – we are going to tell you what you don’t want to hear. Sorry, but it has to be said, and you need to take heed!

Exports are difficult

Exporting is a difficult business to be in. Think about it – you are trying to sell something to someone who may not speak your language, who has a different culture to yours and that is located thousands of kilometres away from you in another country. After all, it’s difficult enough trying to sell something to someone around the corner. If you are struggling to make it in the local market, you should know that it will not be any easier in international markets!

If you are struggling forget exports

Unfortunately, there are many, many companies who turn to exports when they are struggling to make it at home. Perhaps they have the hope that exports will resurrect their failing sales or provide some miracle salvation to their current situation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Exports will drain what money and resources you have left and will bankrupt your company quicker than you say “Oh, what about exporting”. Leave exports well alone – they’re not your salvation. You need to make a success of your company at home first. Only then you can consider expanding into export markets, with your local sales and profits financing your export endeavours.

Too often we hear stories from those individuals and organisations (often referred to as export promotion organisations – EPOs) tasked with helping exporters enter the international market, about irate individuals from struggling firms who approach them and demand to be helped and who will not accept that they cannot succeed in exports. Are you one of these firms? If so, forget exports; prove yourself at home first.

Forget those miracle stories

Do not tell us that you have heard a story or know a company that has managed to “make it big” in exports even though they were a small company struggling in the local market. Our answers to you are:

  • You probably don’t know the full extent of the story or perhaps it’s just an urban legend.
  • Because the odd company makes it contrary to expectation does not mean that every other company will make it

OK, now visit our business viability checklist and judge yourself to see whether you have a viable business…