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Tips on exporting your products abroad

To successfully export your products abroad requires good groundwork. Every potential Ghanaian exporter must make sure they have the right capital and skills in place before they start the export journey in order to save time and reduce workload in the long run. This can also lead to larger profits and less risk for your company.

It is very important to understand what steps are involved in exporting your products abroad, but preparations can be made little by little and you do not have to be an expert on this journey. There are many local consultancy firms, mature and regular exporters with experience out there who can offer to help you today.

Getting the product ready

First establish whether there are opportunities for your product or service outside Ghana. This includes determining which countries offer the highest demand for your product. Think about your unique selling point and what features of your product will really attract potential customers in the country you are targeting to reach.

You must also consider the most appropriate method to market your product or service. For example, if you are a small woodcarving company, selling online may be a good way to introduce your product to a market with less risk. Online sales abroad will help you find the best place to sell your Ghanaian products. It also gives you the opportunity to take advantage of special contracts that can boost your sales.

Other key areas to consider are how you can enhance or present your product to satisfy international requirements, labeling, standards, and packaging to differing tastes of potential end-users of the product.

Ghanaian exporters should be prepared to research one or several countries to see which will well receive the product. The recommended approach should be to use online/social media but using local business advisory consultants might be worth the first steps in the right direction. Joining a public/private organized trade missions to the countries of your choice are a very effective way to start looking at opportunities in those countries. Trade representatives at Ghanaian Embassies/High Commissions or Chamber of Commerce representing different countries in Ghana may be able to help with activities related to business opportunities, as well as with market research and market visits.

Getting your team and company ready

Exporting products from Ghana requires great commitment from your staff, top level management and sales & marketing department but also how you will share your vision among your employees for exporting your products.

You must think about whether your company currently has the right skills and expertise to export abroad.

You may need extra staff or extra man hours to achieve the following:

  • country research
  • international sales and marketing (consider what might make your marketing content, including your website, product catalogue fit for purpose in a foreign country)
  • understanding of country culture and language – effective communication in a foreign language will require at least a small amount of language skills
  • finance, documentation and logistics
  • finding and managing partners

Bear in mind that you can get support and services in many of the areas listed above, and some of which may be offered free or at a low cost, from other partner companies already on your company database. Local Chambers of Commerce, Privately owned Consultancy firms and foreign Embassies/High Commissions can also help. Your staff might also benefit from incentives offered by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority and other stakeholders that support exports abroad.

Exporting is generally a process that needs to be well planned. You will require clear objectives and must be achievable for what your business can succeed within specific timelines. An export strategy therefore should be an essential part of your export journey, whether separate or part of your existing business plan.

Prepare an export strategy

Once you are done with your initial country research, you will need to prepare an export strategy. An export strategy summaries your objectives, plans and preparations for selling your product or service in a new or existing foreign market. It also helps you evaluate risks and benefits. It is not different from a business plan but with an international focus.

Your export strategy should include the following essential ingredients:

  • the benefits of exporting your products or services and the unique selling points that may give you a competitive advantage
  • any modifications you might need to make to be able to sell in your chosen countries
  • your target countries and the reasons for choosing them must be clear in your mind
  • which method you will use and how you will identify the right partners abroad
  • management of your company, shipping and intellectual property, duties, license and other regulations
  • a marketing plan to attract customers and develop your foreign trade
  • an outline of the funds you will need to export and how you will finance it

Understanding of export duties and license issues

How to handle export duties and licenses should be your main focus as a potential exporter. Getting your goods or services to your targeted customer, so you can get paid and your customer will be satisfied should be your key objectives. But you also need to comply with Ghanaian and international law and regulations.

For most companies in Ghana this is fairly straightforward, but depending on what product you are planning to export and the destination it is going, this could potentially involve complying with some regulations and paperwork. Please ensure you check to see your duties as an exporter on relevant government agencies websites were you will find helpful information to answer your queries.

Adhere to any relevant regulations before you transport your goods or deliver services abroad is key. This you would need to watch out during the research stage so you can factor resource and time into your export strategy.

After you have found an export opportunity and checked that you are ready to export, visit the Ghana Export Promotion Authority website to make sure you are following the regulations.

The above tips we believe will save you time and effort, which can be spent finding your next business opportunity and developing your brand.

Getting professional help to take you through the export journey

You may register with us here to receive more guidance and advice on how to reach out to international markets with your product or service. Global Trade Consult representatives will be happy to support you throughout your export journey abroad.

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