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So… you want to begin exporting?



Tim Clover is the founder and CEO of Glow

Small Business

By Tim Clover

Opening up an export market can be a major boost to any business – but get it wrong and it can drag your existing business down very quickly.  

Here are some considerations to help inform your business strategy, and to make that venture into new export territories a success.

Finding the sweet spot

Conducting research into potential markets is imperative. The urge to export into new territories can tempt businesses to quickly jump on opportunities, but it’s critical to undertake solid groundwork and get it right from the start. You may have set your sights on exporting into certain markets, but it is vital to investigate the existing players and potential competition in those markets first to ensure there is space for your products.

There are also local nuances to take into account. Take product packaging as an example. In certain Asian cultures, some colours are more favourable than others or can have negative connotations. For instance, Chinese consumers generally find bright and shiny colours for packaging of food products appealing, but tend to prefer white and pastel colours for those of personal care and household items.

Technology has made a wealth of data on consumers’ needs and wants in specific markets easily accessible and there are research tools that businesses can use to tap into this.

Understanding local legislation

There are many countries that require a Certificate of Origin for exported goods. This is a legal document that identifies goods and contains express certification by a government authority or other body that the goods originate in a specific country. There are numerous legislative requirements that vary depending on what you are exporting.

Some countries also have different labelling considerations and safety regulations. Your local Chamber of Commerce is a good source of information on legislative requirements for your business and products. Every Chamber of Commerce has an export assistance department from whom you can seek legislative advice.

Supercharge your plan with government support

Did you know that Australian small and medium businesses are eligible to apply for Export Market Development Grants (EMDG)? The EMDG is a scheme administered by Austrade that provides financial assistance for aspiring and current exporters across a wide range of industries.

The Austrade site also has a wealth of information on other grants, free trade agreements and guides on how to prepare your product for export.

Small and medium businesses are also eligible to participate in Austrade trade missions, which provide businesses with opportunities to expand internationally by being a part of international business briefings, networking functions, trade exhibitions, business culture workshops and business matching facilitation.


Tim Clover is the founder and CEO of Glow, an Australian research technology company that disrupts the research market by democratising access to insights.

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