Broadening business horizons pays off
  • Wednesday 26 October 2016

Exporting is recognised as a key to future economic prosperity on the Sunshine Coast and a Maroochydore-based business is leading the charge.

Typefi, a world-leading provider of single-source automated publishing software, won the Small Business Award at the Premier of Queensland’s 2016 Export Awards.

Typefi CEO Chandi Perera said the company’s exporting journey started just under a decade ago and now more than 90% of its customers are based overseas.

“Our primary business focus is exporting our product around the world and we have built a very effective global business with just under 50 staff serving customers in over 20 countries,” he said.

“Typefi is currently undergoing rapid growth—increasing revenue by 40.6% in the 2015/16 financial year. With 90% of that revenue coming from overseas, we’re firmly committed to increasing our market share in both established and previously unexplored international markets.

“Typefi started looking for export opportunities from the founding of the company on the Sunshine Coast in 2001. Our second major customer and our first major international customer was Random House New York in January 2007. From there, Typefi has grown to be a recognised leader in automated publishing solutions.

Typefi is currently used by trade publishers, international organisations, government departments, manufacturers, educational publishers, professional associations, standards bodies, travel publishers, legal and financial services organisations, and scientific, technical and medical publishers around the world.

“We employ 48 people worldwide, with offices in Australia, the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, and staff in the US, UK, France, Romania and Ukraine.”

The Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Strategy (2013-33) aims for 20% of goods and services produced locally to be exported by 2033. Mr Perera encouraged more local businesses to broaden their horizons and get export-ready.

“Focus on making a good product first. If you have a world-leading product and great services, it becomes much easier to export the product. The quality of the product and service will help you punch above your weight globally,” he said. 

“You must make time to meet your customers, which means that you will probably need to structure your work day in non-traditional ways. For example, you may need to work in the mornings with prospects in the USA, and work evenings or late nights with your contacts and customers in Europe.  

“Pursuing export revenues can be challenging, but it’s also extremely worthwhile as it gives you revenue diversity, and this allows you to build a resilient business that is not dependent on one set of customers or one geographical location.

“We also believe that being proudly Australian is an advantage in international markets!”

Sunshine Coast Deputy Mayor Tim Dwyer, who attended last week’s event, said Council’s Export Development and Global Capability Program was now in its second year and had already helped 47 local companies embark on their export journeys.

“On behalf of council I congratulate Typefi for this fantastic achievement and this really goes to show the great things that businesses can achieve here on the Sunshine Coast,” Cr Dwyer said.

“The second instalment of Council’s two-month export program has just commenced, with another 20 local businesses participating and learning about the skills, advice and contacts to help develop export strategies and understand Free Trade Agreements, logistics and pricing.

“Council’s export program also includes a range of face to face networking events, we have an online LinkedIn group with some 400 members and we also offer education and coaching programs.

“A lot of exporters need help now and what we’re trying to provide is that hands-on experience with people who’ve been out in the workplace doing it themselves, negotiating and battling their way through entering different export markets and it’s fantastic that we’ve got people of such a high calibre provided by the Export Council of Australia able to assist our local business exporters.”

For more information about Council’s Export and Global Capability Program visit Council’s website.

Typefi’s top exporting tips:

  • Research your proposed region—assess demand for your product or service, as well as the economic and political stability of the region.
  • Having local knowledge can make a huge difference, so if your company does not have access to this, then obtain and build relationships with reliable and well regarded third party channel partners. 
  • Keep vigilant, as markets can change very quickly, and companies need to be able to adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Keep a close eye on resource management, including labour, expertise, distribution and logistical capabilities—if exports start to soar companies need to ensure that they have the cash and the capabilities to meet this demand.