Ask the Experts

PwC Partner Mike Bignell – May 2016

I’m looking at exporting this year but given the jitters around global volatility earlier in the year, I don’t know if that’s such a good idea. How much should I let that influence my plan?

When you’re embarking on any business strategy you should be considering the medium to long-term gains.

If you believe the growth aspirations for your company can be achieved through trading internationally, the exact time when you enter that market will not make a material difference.

In fact there is sometimes an argument in favour of entering a market when it is down and times are difficult.

You might find it easier to build trust and prove your commitment during a downturn in the market.

Once you’ve chosen your market, the relationships you make should help you build confidence in your business and products. Establish a local support network including your bank, MFAT, the high commissioner and any other advisers you have access to.

They will be in a position to help you identify opportunities and contacts on the ground that will help generate interest in your product or service.

Work closely with your distributors and help them drive demand by ensuring you understand the ultimate consumer needs and behaviours.

Some other recommendations: Don’t neglect the rest of your business while you focus on your export plans.

Understand the foreign exchange requirements and payment processes in the country you want to export to.

Keep an eye on your finances – consider grant funding through NZTE. The New Zealand Export Credit Office can also help with credit insurance. Consider taking out foreign-currency cover to protect against volatility in exchange rates.

Build resilience in your business and develop contingency plans for when things don’t go according to plan.

There will always be unpredictability in the world and if you’re going to wait for everything to be in perfect alignment, you could lose your competitive edge.

As published by Fairfax in May, 2016.

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