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Australian food and beverage companies not already selling products in Asia are probably thinking about it – but while the potential rewards are big, many are making the same mistakes as they move into new markets.

For instance, many companies enter multiple Asian markets in a reactionary way simultaneously, and are now struggling to make their Asian export business profitable, according to international business and innovation consultant Dermott Dowling.

“Companies are coming to us after they have already spread their wings into seven or eight markets in a reactionary manner to inbound requests, and are finding their Asian operations unprofitable and unwieldy.”

Dowling will be chairing the panel Home grown to global: Are you export ready? Pitfalls and pointers at the Breaking Boundaries LIVE forum on August 4, and will be joined by Najib Lawand of FIAL; Freedom Foods' general manager, marketing & innovation Tom Dusseldorp; Emma & Tom's founder and CEO Emma Welsh; and Matthews Australasia general manager Mark Dingley.

Dowling says local exporters are making other common mistakes, such as how they are arriving at their product pricing – using a work-up cost plus instead of a work-back market driven approach.

Also, they are spreading themselves too thinly across too many distributors, often in the same markets competing with themselves, and they are not providing sufficient branding marketing and customer activation support to build profitable brands, which he will further explain at the Breaking Boundaries event.

Dowling, who has worked for leading consumer goods multinationals like Fonterra, Foster’s and Lion on building their brands in Asia, now consults extensively to fast-growth international businesses on the upfront thinking needed to execute a successful export strategy.

He says companies need to take a strategic approach in three key areas: which markets to enter and in what order; what market entry models they use to enter the prioritised markets; and how they can sustainably resource that investment phase in terms of dollars, people, and time as they grow their international business profitably.

“It's like launching products in Australia – you simply cannot enter all categories at once or you will ‘burn and lose’ all your money. Similarly, you need to figure out how to phase your export market(s) entry plan so you are moving into new territories and categories sustainably – taking an earn-and-learn approach as opposed to a burn-and-lose experience.”

You can book your seat at the Breaking Boundaries LIVE forum here, learn more about the presenters here, and buy your ticket here.

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