Going Global

Export Readiness Assessment Tool (ERAT)


12 Steps to Successful Exporting

Market research will help you to identify the right target market, competitors in the market, custmers, distribution channels and the best way to promote your product.

To be successful you must first decide if the export business is for you. Ask if your company, the management as well as owners of the company are committed towards exporting and if your company’s products/services are ready for the export market.

Review your company’s current resources; do you have the financial resources, staff dedicated to exports, suitable sales literature, business card, price lists, website and Intellectual Property (IP) registration. Are you registered with MATRADE so you receive information about market opportunities, export promotion events, seminars and workshops to educate you about exporting? Use business tools such as SWOT Analysis, PEST Analysis, Porters Five Forces to assess internal and external factors that affects your business and your competitors.

Understand the market’s rules of doing business, particularly on issues such as duties and paperwork. You may also want to visit the market and/or your prospective distributors/representatives. By doing so, you may have the advantage of learning first hand potentials of the market through appointments with prospective customers.

Identify your product and target market and gather data to plan for your export. Market research will help you to identify the right target market, competitors in the market, customers, distribution channels and the best way to promote your product. Visit MATRADE’s Business Information Centre which provides comprehensive materials including online databases to help you in your research. Contact MATRADE’s overseas office to get information about the market.

Planning is essential to any organisation. Before embarking on an all-out marketing plot, it is vital for companies to draw up an export business plan as this document can support a loan application, outlines in detail the direction of the business, describes the strengths of the company – and more importantly – helps to set a value to their business. In fact, without proper planning, companies are more likely to fail – expensively.

Sales and marketing allows your customers to be aware of your business as well as your products or services. It is through sales and marketing that people know what your company has to offer. Many chooses to extend their marketing efforts simply because ‘continued marketing tactics’ trawls customer’s interests in season specials, promotions, new products and/or services. An effective marketing is bound to set your business apart from other competitors.

This is also an integral part of exporting, as distribution channels are the necessary links that ensures the manufacturer’s goods reach the end users – be it direct exporting or indirect exporting. Some companies may share the same reasons for entering the export business, the market entry strategies and path taken may vary from one to another.

Companies must identify the most appropriate export pricing mechanism for their business. As pricing generates revenue for the company, it is important to learn how to effectively choose a pricing strategy so that profit margin is maximised, resources are optimised, and sales volume are amplified.

Formalising a distribution agreement between the exporter and the country’s distributor (overseas buyer/importer/reseller) is vital as this avoids any future misunderstandings. The distribution agreement sets out clearly the duties and responsibilities of each party.

This is an important element for any company that wishes to retain their customer loyalty and sustain their business presence. A typical order cycle would normally end with securing orders and, in most cases, re-ordering. Since the survival of a business hinges on sales, it is important to negotiate and follow-up with your customers to get orders secured.

You will need to know the export documentations required to export your products or services, as this may differ according to certain industries and/or international markets. Having a proper and accurately completed export documentation is vital as it avoids delays in processing and port clearance. Any delays in shipment will affect customer loyalty and your business credentials.

Having a good understanding of the various methods of payment settlement is essential to ensure that you select the most appropriate terms of payment for your business transactions and that you receive payment for it. This is a crucial element in the export business as you will need cash to purchase the goods or services in order to manufacture and deliver to your customers. You will also need to have a good understanding in exchange rate volatility as fluctuations can affect profitability and pricing.


Related Links (FTA)


MATRADE's Publication on FTA


FTA Series: Malaysia's Free Trade Agreements FTAs
A useful guide for more information on FTA.

FTA Series: ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership
A useful guide for more information on AJCEP

FTA Series: Malaysia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreements
A useful guide for more information on MJEPA

FTA Series: Malaysia-Pakistan Closer Economic Partnership Agreement
A useful guide for more information on MPCEPA


Updated by Trade Statistics Unit

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