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The export process - What's involved in exporting Notwithstanding all the benefits of exporting, it remains a complicated process that

is fraught with risks. It is not a question of simply becoming an exporter from one day to the next. There are many steps involved in becoming an exporter and each of these steps may have several sub components to it. The 20 steps to exporting are highlighted below: A: Understanding and preparing for exports 1. Considering exporting- If you are considering exporting, you should get yourself up to speed by understanding why you want to export, what the difference is between domestic marketing and export marketing, what the various environments are that you will encounter in international trade and the trade barriers you may face in the international marketplace.

2. Current business viability - If you are not managing to survive in your current business, then don't consider exporting.

3. Export readiness - Besides for having an existing base (i.e. a viable business) to build on, there are several other factors that contribute to your readiness to export.

4. Set a broad export mission statement and initial research budget for your firm - If you're ready to export, then you need to set a broad statement indicating that intention to export (which you may revise later), and you will also identify a small budget that will allow you to do the research and preparation necessary to plan and implement an export strategy.

5. Confirm management's commitment to exports - probably one of the main reasons why firms fail with their export endeavours is because management only pay lip service to the firms' export efforts. This is not

enough! Get management to commit on paper to the firm's exports efforts and have them approve the budget you submitted for your export research (see step 4). B: Researching and segmenting export markets 6. Undertaking an initial export SWOT analysis of the firm - as it is important to understand what the export capabilities of the firm are, as this knowledge is used as an input to the export marketing research process (see the next step), it is necessary at this point in the export process to undertake an export SWOT analysis. But as you do not yet have the foreign market information at your disposal, this SWOT analysis will need to be reviewed again later in the export process as an introduction to the export plan.

7. Selecting and researching potential countries/markets abroad - It is a fact; you cannot export to all the countries in the world. Indeed, even established companies can only concentrate on two or three countries at most (and usually only those that are close to each other either geographically, culturally or in terms of language or some other factor). Smaller companies will barely be able to cope with one additional country (over and above the domestic market). The question is which country? At this point in the export process your firm must evaluate the many potential countries open to you and narrow the list down to no more than three to five countries with the greatest potential to look at more closely (a shortlist of countries). Once you established a shortlist of countries, the next step is to do some desk research and in-market research to identify the most suitable country (or perhaps two countries) from your shortlist. In the case of large countries such as the US, Germany, the UK, etc., you may also want to segment the country into more accessible segments (such as males under 30, or households with an income of $50 000 or more per annum) that you can focus your marketing efforts on. The purpose of this research will be to understand the foreign environment you intend to enter and to identify potential foreign customers and their needs so that you can plan an export marketing strategy that will meet your potential customers' needs.

C: Compiling an export plan 8. Preparing your export plan - This is one of the most important steps in the export process and will incorporate a situational analysis (export SWOT), your export objectives and an export marketing strategy. D: Implementing the export plan 9. Obtain financing/resources for your exports - You will almost certainly need to finance your export efforts in some way and you will have to give thought to how much you need and where you will find the money. You may also need to find the staff and facilities necessary to support your export activities (which, in turn, will cost money).

10.Managing your export risk - When you negotiate and eventually sign an export contract, you need to be aware that you are committing your firm to certain responsibilities (such as delivering on time and according to a certain standard) and that you are making certain assumptions about your business partner (that they will pay, for example). These responsibilities and assumptions represent a serious risk for your firm and you need to be aware of what these risks are and you need to take steps to manage these risks as best possible.

11.Promoting the firm and its products abroad - This involves letting the world know about your firm and what it offers and there are many promotional channels that you could use (such as advertising in trade magazines, e-mail marketing or participating in a trade fair). The channel you use will depend on what your promotional strategy is that you outlined in your export plan. 12.Negotiating and quoting in export markets - You need to approach your customers, convince them to buy from you, negotiate a deal and price that that find acceptable, and present them with a quote (usually in the form of a proforma invoice).

13.Revising your export costings and price - Following your negotiations, you will in all probability have to consider lowering your price or other sales terms. This may require you to revisit your costing exercise and pricing strategy.

14.Obtaining the export order - This is all about closing that sale and signing the contract!

15.Producing the goods - With the export order in hand, you now have to get down to producing the goods that you have promised to deliver. This will mean securing raw materials and components from your suppliers, and producing, packaging and labelling the goods for export. E: Export transportation and logistics 16.Handling the export logistics - You have to get the product from your factory to your customer and you will need one or other form of transportation to do this. F: Export documentation and payments 17.Handling export documentation and export payments - A lot of paper work will accompany each consignment. You need to ensure that your export documentation is in order so that you can effect export payment for your goods.

18.Providing follow-up support - Customers will want to be ensured that you will help them if something goes wrong with your product. To this end, you will need to consider what warranties and guarantees you will offer your customer, as well as what support you will provide them. 19.Getting paid - An important part of the export process.

G: Export management 20.Reviewing the export process - To ensure a successful export department, you will want to review and improve your export process.

21.Export management - The process does not end here. It needs to start all over again with your next customer. This is the focus of export management and involves the way you organise your export department.

Processing the export order

The export cycle 1. Setting up the deal Once you have established your sales contract, by either being in possession of an international purchase order or a documentary credit stating you as the beneficiary, you are now in a position to process the order. There are a few steps you should go through when processing an export order. However, you must first wait until the deal has been properly established before committing your resources to the order.

Case Study: As you can see, John Motsa has received an international purchase order from Bill Jones and has been advised by his bank of the documentary credit made available to him by Bill's bank in London. John has checked the documentary credit (L/C) according to the checklist and has accepted the credit without amendment.

2. Shipping the goods Once the deal has been set up, you should take the following steps:

Read the purchase order/documentary credit very carefully and take note of the requirements of the buyer. If there are any pre-shipment actions that must occur, these activities must take place before you book the freight and load the container. Pre-shipment activities could include pre-shipment inspections, health inspections or product analyses, all of which must be carried out before the goods have been packed for shipping. If any of these inspections are required, make arrangements with the appropriate service providers and obtain the necessary certification before shipping the goods. You are now in a position to complete your F178 and have it attested with the bank. As an F178 declaration is a commitment by you to the Reserve Bank that funds will be brought into the country in exchange for goods, you should not make this declaration until you are sure the deal is going to happen. You are now ready to pack and label the goods. At this point, you can contact your freight forwarder to make a booking on the next available carrier, or on the carrier offering the service you require. You will furnish your forwarder with a freight forwarders instruction and an attested F178, and request him to arrange for customs clearance and transport. He can also arrange for marine insurance if required. You will, at this point, arrange for him to collect the goods or deliver the goods to his warehouse yourself. Your freight forwarder will deliver the goods to the carrier and obtain a transport document as proof of receipt. He is now in a position to arrange for customs clearance, which will require the submission of a customs bill of entry DA 550, an attested F178 and a transport document (in the case of air, road and rail exports). He will then hand over the transport and insurance documents to you. You are now in a position to issue your commercial documents, namely, the commercial invoice and packing list and can assemble you export documentation. This will include your commercial documents, transport document, insurance document, as well asthe verification documents issued by third parties.

Case Study: Based on the L/C, John completed his F178 and had it attested at his bank. He then applied to the Directorate: Plant Protection and Quality Control for the issue of a phytosanitary certificate. Based on his declaration, the certificate was issued. He then went to the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and arranged for the issue and authentication of a certificate of origin. John was now in a position to ship the goods. He contacted his forwarder, made a booking on the next available flight to London and sent the forwarder a freight forwarder's instruction, along with his original attested F 178. At the same time, he arranged for his assistant to deliver the honey to the forwarder's premises at Johannesburg International Airport. The forwarder handed the cargo over to South African Airways and was issued an Air waybill. A DA 550 was completed and submitted, along with the F178 and Air waybill to Johannesburg International Airport Customs. Customs clearance was obtained and the forwarder issued an insurance certificate according to the information in the freight forwarder's instruction. The forwarder then handed over the Air waybill, insurance certificate, F 178 and DA 550 to John. John was now in a position to issue his packing list and commercial invoice. He now had all the documents required by the L/C.

3. Getting Paid Once all documents are ready and completed in accordance with the documentary credit, (or if not using a documentary credit, in accordance with the purchase order), you are now in a position to present the documents for payment. In the case of documentary credits, you will submit the documents to the negotiating bank, (usually your bank), which will check the documents, ensuring that they are in accordance with the L/C, and make payment to you. Of course, if selling on an acceptance L/C, the bank will accept your drafts, and you will receive payment at maturity of the draft.

Case Study: John carefully checked all his documents against the L/C and was satisfied that everything was in order. He noted that he only had two days after shipment within which to present his documents to the bank. He went to the bank and presented his documents to a bank official, who checked them against the L/C. Everything was in order and the documents were accepted. John then signed a Form E, which cancelled his F178 obligation, and allowed the bank to buy his US dollars. The bank deposited the rands into his account two days later. John had just completed his first export order. The bank sent the documents to the issuing bank in London, which in turn has handed them over to Bill Jones. Bill, in the meantime, has taken receipt of the

honey, based on an airway release issued by his bank, as the documents have taken longer than the goods to get to London. Bill now has the honey in his warehouse and John has been paid. 4. Follow-up and service: The key to future success The most important part of your export market development process has now arrived. It is sometimes more difficult to secure a follow-up order than it is to achieve the first order. It is vital, at this point, to get feedback from the buyer as to whether you have met his needs. It might be necessary, to plan a follow-up visit to secure your position with the buyer and check to see whether his needs have changed. The chances are that one of your competitors has taken action against your entrance by possibly offering the buyer better terms of payment. It is vital that you develop your market intelligence in order to take whatever action is necessary to keep your market and increase your market share. Case Study: John has received enquiries from Germany which look promising and has just arranged another visit to Europe. He has made arrangements with Bill Jones to attend the launch of his honey at one of the main retailers in London. The following set of documentation will assist you with completing the required documents for processing your export order:

Exchange control declaration Phytosanitary certificate Certificate of origin Forwarder's instruction Air waybill Certificate of Insurance Bill of entry/export Commercial invoice Packing list