Preparing MSMES For The Export Market

Preparing MSMES For The Export Market “Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future” – Denis Waitley

This wise saying underscores the importance of learning in order to make progress and the export endeavour should not be any different.

The current objective of diversifying the Nigerian economy cannot be fully achieved without adequate support for the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, who are the key players in the non-oil sectors of the economy.

However, for increased access to credit and enhanced exports, it is important for entrepreneurs to be better equipped with information and embrace certain corporate practices to be successful.

One of the ‘must dos’ is the incorporation of business entity; this entails that the company’s owner or owners create a separate legal entity to transact business. A corporate entity should be separate from its owner(s).

Another issue is diligent adherence to sanctity of contracts and quality standard specifications agreed upon with buyers. An exporter should be keen to ascertain the level of satisfaction derived from his product and this can only be achieved when the exporter adheres strictly to the quality agreed upon with the buyer.

It is equally very important that an exporter has good knowledge of the updated Government’s Export Prohibition List, such as raw hide and skin, maize, scrap metals, etc. as well as good information on the  foreign markets (especially the destination where you intend to export to).

Operation and management of bank accounts and maintenance of books of accounts which includes ledgers, day-books, cash books, account-books and other books, whether kept in the written form or as print-outs of data stored in a floppy, disc, tape or any other form of electro-magnetic data storage device.

Maintenance of financial records is actually a way to know the true and fair position of your business. In reality, it is much more as it is also a legal requirement.

Preparation of business plans is also crucial as it describes a business, covering the objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts. An exporter has to understand the importance and be able to draw up a good business plan as well as write identification of input sources execution of export contracts and letters of Intent.

Other issues such as the international market prices/quality specifications are also crucial because the exporter would be able to ascertain the true value of his or her product without this information.

A wise exporter should also swiftly complete the NXP forms, open export proceeds accounts and register with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).

Besides finance, there are other challenges confronting the non-oil export sector such as the high cost of operations – power, lack of export incentives , outdated factories , aged plantations, non-compliance to packaging standards (e.g hydrocarbon-free jute bags), etc but an implication of some of the points highlighted above should improve the output of any exporter.

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