Firms urged to strive for local competitiveness ahead of exports

Source: Firms urged to strive for local competitiveness ahead of exports – Sunday News Jul 9, 2017

Wilson Dakwa, Business Reporter
THERE is a need for companies to first of all establish themselves and their products on the local market before exploring exports, according to the country’s trade promotion body ZimTrade.

Presenting a paper on foundations for export in marketing during a ZimTrade Marketing and Branding for International Competitiveness training programme held in Bulawayo on Thursday, the organisation’s associate trainer Mr Dennis Choguya said local enterprises should strive at positioning themselves and enhancing their products’ competitiveness on the local market before considering tapping into foreign markets. The capacity building programme is a customised training for Zimbabwean enterprises, which aims to develop and improve exporting skills.

“You first need to be a successful company locally because exporting comes with costs and you have to be able to build a war chest to fund exportation.

Local success improves chances of banks agreeing to loan you capital. Engaging in exportation without any plan is like jumping off a cliff and trying to knit the parachute as you go down because you need to project how you will export.

“An export plan entails the resources which will be required and it is more like a roadmap which shows you where you are going, explains whether you do or do not have a market, how big that market is, how much money you can expect to get and all of this helps you to decide on whether or not to export because you would have done your financial focus,” said Mr Choguya.

He said it was important for companies contemplating venturing into exports to first of all conduct feasibility studies of their targeted markets.

“It has to firstly include the objectives and goals you wish to achieve by exporting your products. The objectives act as checkpoints as you go down the exportation road. An analysis of your market is also vital because it precisely specifies who will buy your product and how big the market is, if it’s growing or decreasing. The market analysis has to provide a clear client profile in terms of demographics and buyer motivations because this allows you to serve clients better,” said Mr Choguya.

He also said companies should determine and study their top competitors for their specific target customers.

“Competition analysis shows how you will outpace competition using market penetration strategies and whether you will export from Zimbabwe directly or through a distributor. The projections of expenses and how much you will be making and by when ought to be done as part of research. For the first year you can do monthly projections and then after three to five years you do them yearly,” he said.