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Six steps to take your business global


Global growth can be both daunting and rewarding. Here are the steps to take, the mistakes to avoid, and the basics of exporting and importing.

For any product or service with a potentially global market place, the South African market is relatively small, over-traded and therefore highly competitive. Today it is not just South Africa’s multinationals looking specifically at markets in Africa and elsewhere, but small and medium sized businesses too. Africa is a level playing field – there aren’t a lot of large businesses to be acquired there so even multinationals start on the same terms as your business.

The advantages of growth by going global as an importer-exporter
There are some specific advantages of expanding globally:
– You can extend the sales life of existing products and services by finding new markets to sell them in.
– You can reduce your dependence on the markets you have developed in South Africa.
– Potentially countercyclical markets can help even out business fluctuations and cycles in your home market.
– You can learn how to compete against foreign companies-and even take the battle to them on their own ground.

Here are six basic steps to going global:

Prepare a business plan:
Start your campaign to grow internationally by preparing a business plan that evaluates your goals, and assesses your readiness and commitment.

Conduct foreign market research and identify international markets:
The Department of Trade and Industry is an excellent source of information on foreign markets for South African goods and services.

Decide on a method of distributing your product abroad:
Whether opening a company-owned foreign subsidiary to working with agents, representatives and distributors or setting up joint ventures.

Educate yourself:
Learn how to set prices, negotiate deals and navigate the red tape of exporting.

Tap government and private sources of financing:
Figure out ways to make sure you are getting paid. Financing is always an issue, but government is committed to boosting exports and there has been considerable innovation around funding and getting paid.

Build a relationship before you get down to business:
If your business is going far, make sure you build relationships with Knowledgable and trustworthy service providers and partners.