Small business owners have learned the value of research and training when preparing to send products to new overseas markets in the latest of TIQ’s Business growth essentials workshops.

In Exploring ecommerce, TIQ and Austrade joined forces to teach businesses around Queensland about the huge opportunities available on global ecommerce platforms.

Sang Skin Care owner Sang Ha, who attended the Ipswich ecommerce workshop, advised other small businesses to do comprehensive research on their target markets and take full advantage of the training opportunities available.

Ms Ha’s Springfield-based company has been selling its skincare products for over 20 years and been online in Australia for 2 years, but when she decided to start exporting to Asia, she wanted to find out more.

‘We are about to start exporting to Asia and ecommerce is huge in Asia,’ she said.

‘After two years of doing market research, we decided to start by exporting our hero product, Recovery Balm, to Vietnam, and I wanted to get as much information as I could.

‘Even if you get an Asian distributor, every distributor now has an online portal, so I think the training was very relevant to anyone who wants to export.’

Ms Ha invented her skin-care range to treat her own skin problems, which didn’t respond to any of the commercial products available.

She researched skincare solutions from different cultures and different eras looking for modern answers.

She discovered that Chinese medicine had been using essential oils for skincare for centuries, and ancient Egyptians also used essential oils during mummification, which preserved flesh even after thousands of years.

Using some of these same essential oils and other natural ingredients, Ms Ha developed a range that cured her own skin and has been enthusiastically taken up by customers around Australia.

TIQ’s Trade and Investment Officer for Ipswich Julie Mark said it was great to see Sang and other small businesspeople benefit from the training.

‘As well as Sang, we had businesses who sell everything from pet treats to tourism and Indigenous art,’ she said.

‘They received plenty of tips, including which platforms work best in which markets, and how to use social media to research your target market and audience.

‘It was a practical session and the feedback was good.’

Ms Ha said the three-hour workshop was very informative, and small business owners needed to take time out of their business to work on their business.

‘If you go into anything, information is king,’ she said.

‘This is still new for everybody.

‘If you’re serious about it, you need to make the time to learn.’

Training for regional exporters is one of the initiatives of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

The next round of TIQ training workshops will teach business owners the secrets of pitching successfully to funders and investors.

Register now for a ‘Get pitch-ready’ workshop, running in regional centres throughout Queensland 24–31 July.