Regardless of the business activity – exporting brings with it new opportunities as well as a number of potential risks and challenges. To be a successful exporter, you should be thinking about how you deal with:
Being culturally aware and adapting your behaviour can help maximise opportunities and avoid misunderstandings which can come about from cultural differences. You should:
- understand the culture, language, religion, ethical standards and business practices of your target market
- get to know your customers and business partners well
- make an effort to understand how culture impacts on attitudes towards your product and/or service.
Remember to be careful not to generalise – some countries are very diverse and have different cultural nuances.
Register with Asialink Business to take part in their Cultural Intelligence Training Program.
The political environment of the market you're considering may pose new challenges to your business. Make sure that you know:
- the stability of the market politically, economically and socially
- if there are any government or international enforced trade embargoes
- if the country complies with international legal conventions, such as trade sanctions and recognition of personal property rights.
You can gain up-to-date information about the political climate of selected countries by visiting the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's smartraveller website.
Markets have varying legal and regulatory systems. Differences in contract law and Intellectual Property (IP) protection law can be challenging, so it's important to learn the legal intricacies of exporting to your particular market.
If necessary, consult an experienced lawyer who knows your market segment and export location.
The number of people you currently employ – and their skillsets – may need to be adjusted to address the requirements and added pressure that exporting may bring.
Finance and funding
Exporting will mean additional expenditure for your business and is likely to raise the risks and challenges associated with exchange rate fluctuations, non-payment from suppliers and customers, and bribery and corruption.
Confirm the financial standing of any companies you deal with, and ask to see financial documentation such as:
- bank statements
- bank loans or credits with any financial institutions or private lenders
- debt records
- promissory notes
- letters of credit
- government grants and subsidies.
Bribery and corruption are illegal in most countries. Under Australian law (Division 70 of the Criminal Code Act 1995), you could face criminal prosecution in Australia for bribing a public official in another country.
Asialink Business have developed a series of case studies and reports on specific international business issues.