18 September 2023

How to accelerate your export growth in two words 

As Chief SME Finance Officer at Export Finance Australia, Greg Caisley shares his insights for Aussie exporters looking to grow.

We may be living in volatile times, but that doesn’t mean Australian export businesses can’t flourish.

Greg Caisley is the Chief SME Finance Officer at Export Finance Australia. He has two words for Aussie export businesses: trade diversification.

Diversify to build resilience 

Trade diversification is the process of reducing risk by developing and broadening your export base. This is mainly done by expanding product ranges and accessing new markets in new destinations. 

‘The more a business is able to diversify, the better they are able to cope with disruptions,’ says Caisley.

‘This has become increasingly important over recent years as the world faced a series of disruptions. These include the combined impact of the pandemic, trade sanctions and war in Europe.’

How Export Finance Australia can help

Support from Export Finance Australia can help Aussie export businesses to diversify. It also supports businesses involved in the supply chain to export.

‘Export Finance Australia typically assists exporting businesses when they are growing,’ says Caisley. ‘We provide financial solutions to enable access to new markets and help deliver on new contracts. We also cover costs associated with new plant and equipment and general working capital for export growth.’

The definition of an export has also diversified in recent times. ‘In addition to physical exports, it includes professional services, educational services and international tourism,’ says Caisley.

Top diversification tips from an industry leader

In his unique position at the Australian Government’s export credit agency, Caisley has some insights for Aussie exporters seeking to diversify.

  1. Stay agile. Be prepared to pivot quickly to overcome disruptions and exploit emerging opportunities.
  2. Foster new relationships. Exporters who can quickly pivot to new markets during times of disruption are ones who have well-established personal connections across a wide range of markets.
  3. Stay focused on cash flow. Cash flow is the lifeblood of an export business. Maintain a tight focus on your cash position. Where possible, build a reserve as a buffer against increasing costs or payment disruptions.
  4. Diversify at the front end. It is also important to look at diversifying the front end of your business cycle. This means having secondary options for supply and manufacturing arrangements.

Always be prepared

At the end of the day, businesses need to be prepared to manage disruptions across their whole business.

‘Essentially this involves setting up a series of Plan B’s that businesses can turn to if their primary approach is disrupted,’ says Caisley.

‘Exporters need to be focused on mitigating risks across every aspect of their operations. This includes their supply chains, through their manufacturing processes, right to their end buyers.’

Greg Caisley, Export Finance Australia’s Chief Customer Officer, SME.
Members of Export Finance Australia’s SME team.
Export Finance Australia’s WA SME Director and customer, McNally Group Contracting.

Images courtesy of Export Finance Australia. From left to right: Greg Caisley, Export Finance Australia’s Chief Customer Officer, SME; Members of Export Finance Australia’s SME team; Export Finance Australia’s WA SME Director and customer, McNally Group Contracting.

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