Many enterprises fail in their early attempts to export because they under-estimate
what is involved in exporting and do not have sufficient resources. Resources
include money, materials, equipment and labour, as well as management, technical
and administrative skills. Export readiness is therefore dependent not only on the
product but also the enterprise, its finances and infrastructure.
There are various export readiness questionnaires available on the Internet, but
the following should provide a good indication on how ready the enterprise and its
product is to begin exporting and, more important, which areas should be improved
in order to raise the chances of success.
If the enterprise cannot answer ‘yes’ to at least two-thirds of these questions,
then it should take a serious look at what corrections/improvements need to be
made before attempting to export. Of especial importance are the questions
relating to production, because without an exportable product produced in
a viable operating plant, exports cannot take place. However, any business
activities need to be set in the framework of a well-thought through plan and,
if the enterprise still has a way to go before it is likely to be export-ready,
planning to achieve export-readiness is an essential first step.
An enterprise that can answer ‘yes’ to most of the questions, and especially
to those concerning production, could well develop an export plan and then
begin to explore export possibilities and undertake preliminary export market
research, while it makes the necessary improvements in other areas.