If you’re a successful small business owner, chances are you’ve gone through the process of starting-up and now understand what it takes to maintain daily operations. You’ve overcome the initial hurdles surrounding the launching of your business, acquired loyal customers and adapted your product to demands and ever-changing environments and technologies. For the time being you are sitting quite comfortably while reaching exponentially, yet restrictively, to the Australian market.
Perhaps, once in a while, someone will remind you that complacency will kill your business – and sadly, it really can. Too many businesses have suffered under the impact of complacency slipping in unnoticed. Making strategic business decisions must be made while business is thriving. Yes, this is the time you might want to consider expanding your horizons – beyond Australian shores. In a way, isn’t it every entrepreneur’s dream to have their products and goods reach the global market?
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, most exporters are small businesses, while revenue is dominated by large businesses. It is safe to say that exporting presents its challenges, especially if you’re a small business. Before positioning your brand and exporting your product on the international stage, you must consider being able to scale production as well as having sufficient financial, human and intellectual resources.
Taking that leap abroad…
Julia Christie is the innovator and designer of the multi-award-winning baby nail trimmer – the Nail Snail. After providing safer nail care to countless parents of toddlers, babies and newborns across Australia and selling over 20,000 nail trimmers since launching her product in 2017, going global was naturally the next step.
To initiate the process, Julia needed to have an understanding of the export industry. The international trade and export industry is comprised of multi-leveled government agencies and industry players involved in the export process and the international distribution of products.
“When it comes to exporting, we’re talking about a large chain that involves a multitude of activities linking key players such as telecommunications, transport and logistics, shipping, freight handling, licencing and technology. These are all interconnected and part of a collaboration between various private and governmental agencies, both here in Australia and overseas,” says Julia.
Exercise due diligence
The Trade and Export Industry is surrounded by legal aspects that can heavily impact your business operations and can even lead to hefty losses or fines if you choose not to comply with government protocols. There are international rules that can vary such as tariffs and taxes, fluctuating depending on the country you are exporting to. The regulations regarding labelling, packaging, consumer protection, quarantine and product standards may also be different. In order to follow international protocols and to ensure a smooth progression of bringing the Nail Snail to international markets, Julia Christie relied on having well-written distribution agreements and systematic processes in place.
“Make sure you have an experienced export lawyer draft your distribution agreements and help you understand all its clauses. There is such a large amount of sensitive and business related information covered in these and all of it needs to remain confidential too. This is why I re-read the contract until I fully understood it and felt that all relevant aspects were covered. A good contract means that once you and your distributors or export partners sign it, you can feel 100% confident,” reported Julia.
Vigilance is key in international distribution
The general improvement of technology, trade finance, export agreements plus the favourable exchange rates especially for some countries, have encouraged more foreign buyers to purchase from Australian businesses. This can really increase business and lead to strong international partnerships, but be aware of your business decisions and don’t get blind-sided by the dollar signs.
“I treat every overseas shipment like it was my very first. I methodically go through the procedures to ensure that my Nail Snails are distributed in a safe and timely manner. Shipping to an unknown destination can be a tad stressful but with tracking numbers, references and internationally recognised barcodes, I feel secure knowing that my shipment will go smoothly from start to finish. Understanding the different technologies used in the process was all part of my learning curve,” Julia said.
All for economic growth
For small business owners like Julia Christie, introducing the Nail Snail to the global market has impacted positively on her day to day business decisions. Innovation in areas such as transport, logistics and timely deliveries have enabled her to not only grow her customer base but give her business that competitive edge.
When it comes to exporting your product, it’s good to know that you are not only contributing to the growth of your business, but contributing to global economic growth of Australia as well, while generating direct, indirect and induced jobs, too.
There are ample export resources available, support services and businesses that have taken the export journey before you, learn from them. Get support from experienced professionals and make sure you go over the fine print too. Taking your product outside of Australia is a different game plan altogether. And, while it can be a worthwhile step to take, it is not to be taken lightly.
According to Julia, “Done right, it can be the best thing for your business.”
Julia Christie is the designer of innovative baby nail trimmer – the Nail Snail. She invented it after the terrible experience of injuring her newborn boy after using baby nail clippers. She has spent the last 5 years, raising 3 children, and building her company Christie & Christie to award-winning success not only in Australia, but internationally.