Peter Townsend: 6 key mistakes made by exporters

Peter Townsend, CEO of Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce
Peter Townsend: 6 key mistakes made by exporters

I recently attended the “Go Global” conference in Auckland hosted by ExportNZ. We have a strong ExportNZ grouping which fits under the umbrella of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and it is not uncommon to have a gathering of over 100 exporters at our local functions.

It was great to get to Auckland and see a crowd of over 400 people sharing ideas about international trade and the importance of exporting to New Zealand. One of the particularly good presentations was by Peter Chrisp, the charismatic CEO of NZ Trade and Enterprise.

Peter talked about the 6 key mistakes made by companies entering export markets: 


The lack of effective governance

It is so important to have a Board that works effectively and is comprised of people with experience in the sectors that you intend to serve in your export function.

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Focusing on a product instead of a market

So often we hear of companies that have produced something they think will have export potential and then they go to force their product into the market instead of looking exactly at what the market needs.


Lack of a clear “go to market” strategy 

We are not good in New Zealand at thinking strategically – exporting takes time to develop successfully and requires a clear strategy.


Looking offshore to solve problems and having no clear plan to solve them

Often the rationale for exporting is that the exporter finds it difficult in the domestic market or has surplus capacity therefore looks to an export market to resolve these issues. That thinking is flawed.


A failure to hire and utilise the right people

Having the right people on-shore and in market to nurture your export activities is fundamental.


An international strategy that is too broad

You don’t need to conquer the world. You just need a very small piece of it and preferably niche in which to establish your market.


This is sage advice from a man who is dealing with international trade and successful exporting companies every day.

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