Is your tech company ready to jump the ditch?

24 February 2016

Stephen Blair / Trade Commissioner / Australia & Pacific

These are exciting times for New Zealand technology companies with plenty of opportunities across the Tasman. In 2015, our top 200 technology companies recorded exports of $6.5 billion, with the fastest growing export market being Australia. 

Taking advantage of an emerging technology ecosystem at home, our technology companies are successfully breaking into similar networks in Australia. But before launching into the Australian market, you need to be prepared to ensure you have the best chance of success. 

Here are some insights from recent NZTE workshops with technology companies to consider before you move across the Tasman. 

Have a unique selling point 

Many of our technology companies provide a range of services and products; often built up over time as a result of a relationship with a significant local customer. Australian customers will want the best service and a solution that no one else can offer, so work out what your unique selling point is rather than saying "we can do everything". 

Look like an international company 

There is a range of ways to look international and bigger than you really are. To start, have a URL ending in .com, and increase the likelihood that potential customers will answer and return your calls by having an Australian mobile number (or use a cloud based PBX with an Australian caller ID). 

Make it easy for your customer to do business with you

Having an Australian postal address and bank account will make customers think you are easy to work with and reduce any problems – perceived or real – for paying you or returning product. 

Talk to lots of potential customers 

There are now over 400 weekly flights across the Tasman, so visit the market often and talk to as many people as possible. Face-to-face time will help you identify opportunities and pain points for potential customers.  It will also help you pick-up useful contextual information and customers perspectives.  Use any downtime at airports to read as many newspapers as possible –  the Australian Financial Review is a must – and in between meetings, take a walk around to see  who is doing business where. 

Have a presence in-market

When you are not in-market, your competitors are.  Every day they are knocking on doors, at meetings and networking events when you're not. So, expect to spend a lot of time in-market and consider engaging an advisor. You'll have to pay, and they can be expensive, but you will be buying their contacts, networks, and market insights. If you’re ready to hire someone local, make sure they can sell. 

Mistakes to avoid 

The most common mistake is to underestimate the time it takes to make the first sale. Getting traction is hard work but the reward of a first sale or contract is worth the effort. It’s also important to remember that Australia is not just a bigger version of New Zealand – there are many subtle differences, and also differences between states. This is where a local advisor would be worth their weight.