When a company starts the export journey, very often they only look at whether a product is suitable for export mainly because it has been successful in the domestic market and then whether the support functions such as logistics and marketing can -export often becomes an add-on function.
Far too often export activities are only viewed as mechanical processes that are ‘happening out there’ and which has little to do with the vision and outlook within the rest of the business. Just decide on the market; select a good partner, get the logistics right and you are home and dry as a successful exporter often seems to be the attitude.
However, the key to really successfully grow your export lies much deeper within your business. What kind of organisation are you? What are your culture and outlook? What are your timelines? If you are short-term, ‘results here and now’ business always chasing the next deal then you will probably find it very difficult to build up a sustainable and profitable export business.
Too often we overlook the roots of and what the company is and stands for. Putting it simply we forget to look at the existing company culture and do not consider whether the organisation is capable to embrace global influences and get away from “the way we do things around here”.
The readiness for an established domestic operator very often is based on just adding “export” to the traditional linear business model. The focus is many times only short-term results, not on ownership and the extra role of operating in markets outside the domestic market is overlooked.
In a company structured around functions, export gets started by being added on to the already existing functions, such as finance, production, logistics, or marketing. The business operates well in stable/single market environments where business strategies are less inclined to changes or dynamism. Adding more markets to what used to be a single market makes it difficult for organisations to be agile even respond to changes quickly.
The importance of developing a global culture needs to be communicated throughout the company:
1. Establish co-operation across the company’s functions
2. Ensure there is commitment throughout the company
3. Accept that this is an ongoing journey, remembering that Rome was not built in one day as the saying goes
Enjoy and good luck