1.2 Sales capacity
These questions drive exporters to a clear internal understanding of internal sales capacity, customers & constraints as well as priority markets.




Do you know your current sales volumes and customers?

The requirement for this information is twofold. Before exporting it is a valuble exercise to evaluate your current sales rates and any untapped potential in the local market – and the need versus desire to export. In addition it is useful to be prepared with an answer or perspective on your current run rates and customers. If your customers are international companies and / or reasonably well known, this can add credibility to your business.

General model

Do you know your current consumer, customer and market volumes, will this be the same in your target market?

It is useful to have a perspective on this for discussions with distributors/ customers. It can also help you to select like-minded partners and / or distributors carrying products that also target a similar consumer (eg youth, organic, diaspora etc).


Do you know your priority markets and customers (local, regional, international)?

Don’t forget to look at regional markets as well as international markets. Particularly if your product is lower volume and higher margin. Regional markets may offer you easier, lower cost access and may be more profitable.

Have you detailed minimum sales volumes required for target customers / markets?

It is good to be clear on the minimum volume that makes it worth exporting to new markets and have this in mind for discussion with potential market partners. This is likely to be a volume that is both market driven (ie following research on market-size, competitors, pricing etc) as well as from a business perspective – economies of scale in production, shipping, growth. It is important to be realistic about the timeframe for sales growth, particularly if the product and / or brand is unknown.

Have you got a good idea of incremental benefits from export?

What will exports mean for the profitabliity of your business. What are the costs (variable and fixed) and likely investments that may need to be made in the short, medium and long term.

Do you have sufficient production capacity to meet target customer / market requirements?

In EU markets and particularly for the retail channel, inability to meet demand can lead to de-listing.