The Export Stairway

Exporting is a another business model from growing on your home market. Selling your products to customers in other countries is not, in itself, to be engaged in export. Exporting is about entering and building a new market; you invest in new relationships, build your brand and set up infrastructure. However, most often you have the advantage of already having built your home market. You know what makes your product unique, how to negotiate and manage supply chains.

Most export advisors will argue that successful exporting requires meticulous planning, extensive research and heavy investments. While the need for thorough planning may be exaggerated, we see a number of steps you need to take to secure success. Understanding these steps is important.

  1. The first step is to be able to confirm that ”yes we are ready to export”. The meaning of being ready will vary but it involves things like having an English web site, having someone specific appointed and in charge of the exports and having at least three years planning horizon for the export project.
  2. Your product(s) may have developed in symbiosis with your home market, having no specific target group in mind. Working with exports, however, it is important to understand which target group is using your product and what needs the products satisfies.
  3. Knowing your target group will allow you to select markets where that target group constitutes a large share of the consumer group as a whole.
  4. Having identified your most penetrable markets, you take your product to these markets to get feed back. You want to understand what modifications the market will reward. Issues like packaging size, colors on label and additional certification make a big difference.
  5. A market will not grow by itself. You will need a partner who is breathing your new market every day. Setting up a local office, partnering with an agent or granting exclusivity to an importer have pros and cons. In any case, you need to decide what partnership is going to be best for your brand. ”Private label” is considered a kind of partnership in this context.
  6. Using the feed back from the market, and taking your partners capabilities into account; how can you adapt and change your product to increase your likelihood of success?
  7. The last step of preparing for market entry is to create a marketing plan in collaboration with your local partner. Having done all the previous steps, this will not be too time consuming.

Once your done with that – off you go!

Stöd för korttidsarbete, JO-anmälan – ni kan inte ana vad som hände sedan!

Bakgrunden till denna bloggpost finns här (del 1) och här (del 2).

Vi fick stöd för korttidsarbete till sist. Det krävde dock en ny ansökan och mängder med telefonsamtal. Läget var extremt pressat när beslutet väl kom, men vi överlevde så att nya affärsidéer kan prövas!

Efter nästan tre månader fick vi till slut ett beslut: det blev avslag. Företagsekonomi kan vara komplicerat, men i princip menade Tillväxtverket att vi inte hade haft de lönekostnader vi påstod i jämförelsemånaderna. Det hade vi såklart haft, men vårt sätt att redovisa lönekostnader är inte så vanligt. Vi hade kunnat överklaga beslutet, men det skulle ta tid som vi inte hade.

Istället lämnade vi in en ny ansökan, där vi hoppade över en månads stöd och sökte för färre anställda. Inte för att vi inte hade rätt till den omfattning vi först sökt för, men för att ta bort allt utrymme för tvivel. Vårt hopp var att den nya ansökan skulle rinna rakt igenom systemet utan att plockas ut av en robot för manuell handläggning. Som tur var blev det också så. Den nya ansökan godkändes på en vecka och vi fick pengarna inom någon dag därpå.

Även om vi fick stöd till slut så finns det anledning att vara kritisk till handläggningen. Ett kärnproblem är att när man beslutar om korttidsarbete, så gör man det under förutsättning att stöd beviljas. När beslutet om stöd drar ut på tiden, så innebär reglerna kring uppsägningstid med mera att ett negativt beslut kan innebära en konkurs inte kan undvikas. Själva tidsutdräkten skapar konkursen. Formellt menar jag fortsatt att Tillväxtverkets handläggning inte uppfyller förvaltningslagen, vilket rimligen är något för någon coronakommission att titta närmare på.

När vi nu ska få vår första stödperiod godkänd för att kunna få fortsatt stöd, så upprepas proceduren. Vi har nu gått en månad utan stöd, och mina samtal med andra mindre företag antyder att det kan ta ytterligare månader innan vi får första perioden godkänd och beslut om nästa period. Så, jag kan konstatera att även om stödet för korttidsarbete kan verka generöst, så vill det till att man har en rejäl kassa att ta ur för att man ska ha råd att ta emot det.

Till sist vill jag ändå säga att stödet i sig självt verkligen gör nytta. Under den tid som förflutit sedan mars har vi i princip gjort om hela vår affär, och kan förhoppningsvis både överleva och komma ut starkare på andra sidan. Utan stödet hade vi i princip fått säga upp all personal och börja om från början, givet att vi kunnat undvika konkurs.

Johan Cejie

Nordic Food Market data at your service

Flags of the Nordic countries flying in the wind

We’ve all been there – you need some basic data about a market. You don’t want to spend thousands of Euros or Dollars for a full market analysis or tie yourself down with a subscription to some fantastic data base. You know it’s available somewhere. But time is precious…

We find ourselves in that situation every day and of course we are collecting those data to save ourselves time when we write a new report or help a customer. We specialize in the Nordic market for organic food, which of course is part of the food market in the Nordics and Baltics, as a whole. Access to data should not stop you from considering these markets, so we decided to publish some basic information in our web shop.

So, next time you just need the basics like how many people, average spend on food, turn over of leading grocery retailers in the Nordics, sales of organic food, distribution of common target groups, etc, just head on over to our webshop! Below is an example of what part of the data sheet for Finland is looking like.

Nope, it’s not free. Time is valuable to us, as well. But we’ve started out at a low price, and you get more than data sheet. You get

  • Exact references to sources – in most cases a URL link will take you to primary data.
  • One year free updates. We plan to update these sheets on a regular basis. When we do, we’ll send the new version to everyone who bought a data sheet less than 12 months ago.
  • Data from people who work this market every day, numbers with meaning.

Hit one of the buttons below to find out basic market facts about the food market in Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden – an advanced market with 27 million people!

Please feel free to send us a comment on these data sheets! Is there something you’re missing? Suggest another format? Some other data points you’d like included? Just drop us a line!

Is organic more local than local?

Surveys keep on finding consumers looking for organic products that are locally produced. If such products are not available, or not affordable to the consumer, the choice turns into choosing between organic and local. In this situation, our understanding of ’local’ becomes critical. On Tuesday Sept 15, Ekomatcentrum will be presenting an interesting report that takes a closer look at whether Swedish organic products are more or less dependent on imported agriculture inputs than conventional. The conclusion is that Swedish organic agriculture is on average less dependent on imported inputs..

Front page of the new report: How Swedish is Swedish food? A comparison of organic and conventional. Gunnar Rundgren.

One of the basic ideas behind organic agriculture is to produce good food, using local resources. As inputs into the conventional agricultural system typically are not local (at least in the Nordics), the costs for these inputs actually convert into a revenue to another company in some other country. The function of the local farmer becomes to forward the money to this company. As a big driver for many consumers to buy local is to support their local farmers, it may be a bit challenging that a big chunk of the money is actually paid on to something of the opposite of a local company; a global large scale corporation in some other country. Adding to that, there is of course the fact that purchased inputs will leave an ecological foot print elsewhere.

To compare to what extent organic and conventional products are depending on local or remote resources, this report compares what share of the farm’s revenue from a product that is used to buy imported inputs. In other words: how much of a krona that the consumer spends in believing that the product is ’local’ is actually passed on to over seas production of inputs? The report also investigates whether the stricter standards of KRAV leads to a difference in terms of self sufficiency at farm level.

The report finds that the differences vary between type of production and between crops, but in general organic is found to be considerably more self sufficient, or local, than conventional production. For oats, for example 40-46% of the revenue in conventional crop production is passed on to buy imported inputs. Organic production passes on between 8 and 10% to imports. For for dairy farms, the difference is nearly insignificant as conventional production in Sweden, by law, is heavily dependent on grazing and silage for feed.

Fig 1: share of revenue (at farm level) that is spent to purchase external inputs for oats and milk. Eko = organic, konv = conventional, ko = cow, numbers indicate harvest and yield respectively.

The report contains lots of fascinating data and correlations as well as an extensive methods and sources section. It compares potatoes, wheat, oats, tomatoes and milk in the conditions that prevail in Sweden. Having established that local organic is more local than local, the author (Gunnar Rundgren) goes on to discuss the dynamics of a large scale conversion that would result from local shopping ambitions turning organic:

  • More land used for grazing leading to more biodiversity in the landscape
  • More people would be employed in Swedish Farming and the profitability of farming would increase.
  • Pricing would shift in the market, as costs for producing various goods are different between organic and conventional. Ham and poultry would become more expensive while beef, mutton and pulses would be cheaper.
  • There is a small but important flow of nutrients from conventional to organic farms in the current organic system. This would need to be replaced to avoid considerable loss in productivity.

The report is available in Moreganic Sourcing’s web shop. So far only in Swedish. On line translation services will help you with a rough translation. Should you need an English version – just get in touch! If we get a few requests we will be able to translate it.

Download the report here: