Building the right networks for export success

23.04.2018 Export Finance Australia

At Efic we work with businesses across a range of industries – from professional services and technology to manufacturing and education and training. During our conversations with these businesses we’ve found that a recurring critical factor for export business success is export relationships and networks.

Tapping into valuable networks, finding the right partners and getting the right advice and support can make a huge difference in succeeding in your export-related business.

The benefits of an effective network are clear, as meeting and nurturing the right partners can help you to open more doors, win more customers and be a valuable source of support advice.

When developing a strong export network, you should consider the following:

1. Be selective

Make sure you’re working with people that share the same objectives and outlook as you do. Establishing a strong relationship with a potential partner requires time and long term commitment, so choosing the right people to surround you and your business is important.
“Having trustworthy employees, suppliers and partners in the country where you are undertaking the work is essential.” Robin Johnson, Founder and Managing Director, RJE Global

2. Consider size

Are you talking to the right person? If your potential partner is multinational it’s likely that they have offices around the world that deal with others that could also be your customers. Making sure you’re talking to the right person from the start will save you time and help you meet your business objectives sooner.

“In a large organisation especially, there’s a danger that you could be talking to the wrong person – and that could go on for years. So often it’s a process of elimination to find the decision maker.”
Percy Maguire, Founder and Director, Powerhouse Distribution

3. Think long-term

Strong networks take time to establish and the opportunities that come as a result may not happen often. Have a set of clear objectives about how you want your partnerships to work and make sure your business is in a position to meet them.
“You don’t get these opportunities often, so Efic’s funding was pivotal. We’ve had monthly re-orders with Nordstrom and a great relationship with the department store ever since.” Ed Baker, Co-founder and CEO, Pared Eyewear

4. Be flexible

As an export business you’re working with customers and partners in different time zones with potentially different ways of doing business. Considering the cultural, legal and environmental factors that may impact the way you do business means you will be prepared to support new partnerships and potentially have an advantage over your competitors.
“The timezone difference, especially for customers in Europe, is a huge advantage and something that we definitely trade on, as it allows work to be completed far more quickly and efficiently for our customers.” Haydn Faltyn, Co-founder and CEO, BroadSource

5. Build trust

Like a garden, networks need to be watered, so take the time to show people in your network how much you appreciate their support and advice. Building trust and showing support means your network will be more likely to help you again next time.

“We talk to our customers, and treat them as friends and part of the family. We’re the ones answering the emails. We’re like that with all of our buyers as well, and I think that’s been one of the biggest drivers of success for us with our export business. We’re real people and we’re really open.” Kim Peirce, Founder and Director, Babe Australia
For more information on how you can build strong networks, download Efic’s Building your export networks eBook today.
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