Delegates get export savvy at Durban expo

03 October 2018 | Web Article Number: ME201812044

Commerce & Trade
Import / Export

GETTING to grips with “export essentials” to elevate businesses to the next level of trading formed part of an Emerging Exporter Programme at the KZN Export Week 2018 which runs until 5 October at the Durban ICC.

The seventh annual flagship event of Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) was developed to recognise, promote and assist with growing export opportunities in KZN, giving export-ready businesses a platform to enhance their international business development strategies.

The broad topics of export finance, market development and sales techniques were covered by expert speakers including Alexander Robertsons of Robertsons’ Cargo Consultancy; Ricky Pillay of ABC Kings; Krish Maharaj of Growth Path International and Awelani Mkhize of the National Department of Environmental Affairs.

Robertsons spoke of the various financial payment options for exporters such as letter of credit, proforma invoice, and payment on consignment and the associated risks.

“We are governed by the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris which sets the rules for foreign trade between countries. As an exporter it is important to have an understanding of the currency in which you will be paid; interest payable; factors affecting the ship out date; delivery terms in relation to the Incoterms rule and credit insurance.”

Pillay said understanding the language of international trade and the rules of the game were important for an exporter.

“The product being marketed must have a message which tells people why to choose your product; must be of value to the consumer and must be priced right.

“If you are only selling to the South African market, you are already limiting yourself to 0.7% of potential customers whereas if you explore globally, market share can be increased, leading to a profitable bottom line.”

He said knowing where your costs and risks start and end as an exporter was as important as conducting formal and informal research on the market you are trying to infiltrate with your product.

“Make your presence known online; find international buyers by participating in exhibitions and inward/outward missions and create conversations around your product. Selling is about relationships and appealing to people’s emotions in a manner that responds to their needs or provides a solution.”

Maharaj, who left his corporate job to join the world of entrepreneurship, said: “It takes a special person to be an entrepreneur. If you know your purpose in life, you will never have to work a day in your life. When you unleash people potential, you unleash business potential.

“To make a business work, stay attuned to customer needs. Taking the time to understand why some sales leads work and others don’t will ensure buoyancy. Networking is core to sales and marketing. Refine your sales pitch and customise your messages to appeal to diverse groups. Become a trusted partner and learn how to handle objections during a sales pitch.”

Mkhize spoke on the controversial illicit wildlife trade and how certain species of animals were highly threatened by trade. She reinforced compliance and enforcement in environmental legislation and the need for permits to be produced at import/ export of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) species. It was emphasised that the use of animals to smuggle goods were subject to a fine of R10 million or 10 years imprisonment.

“The insights obtained from the presentations thus far have been most beneficial,” said Avishkar Jagannath of High Definitions Creations.

“Our start-up IT company, formed in 2016, has developed a prototype software that can be applied to all sectors of the economy. It will eliminate internal processes and manual communication and will feed into the company hierarchy.

“Export Week is an important networking platform for us in terms of creating the necessary linkages and strategic partnerships to take our business that much further.”

Phumza Sokhetye, CEO of Afro-Apparel Manufacturers, a black female-owned jeans manufacturer in Mandeni in northern KwaZulu-Natal said: “We are in the business of developing jeans for pear-shaped women i.e. narrow waist and large hip. We just received our export licence and will soon be serving markets in Africa, Europe, USA and UK.

The former Durban University of Technology clothing management lecturer saw a gap in the market whilst covering the topic in the Master’s programme she enrolled for to launch herself as an entrepreneur.

Discussions are already in place for Sokhetye’s manufacturing plant and equipment to be funded to allow her company to meet the jobs creation target of 2 000 employees by 2019. She currently employs 450.

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