The minute you run an operation across international borders, you need to have a solid team in places that you won’t be able to frequent and to ensure that your products leave and arrive as they should.
In your home country, you will need a forwarding agent, otherwise known as a shipping agent. This person gets your goods cleared through customs so that they can leave the country, and handles all necessary statutory documentation. They will keep track of when your goods left and when they are expected to arrive. Reputable agents should belong to the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF).
The distributor is your local on-the ground link to your foreign market. A reliable distributor worth their salt will be able to give you regular feedback on how your goods are being received in the market and should also be able to help you obtain local import licences.
They may also clear your goods through customs when they arrive in the country you are exporting to (if this is not being handled by a clearing agent). Because of the critical role they play in the success of an export operation, you also need to ensure that you source an expert. They should have a sound track record of success and be able to supply you with a list of references. In addition, they will need to be able to show an established local network relevant to the product that you are exporting. An unblemished financial history is a non-negotiable. Distributors typically handle more than one brand of products so you need to ensure that they don’t have any competing products on their books. When you visit your export destination, ask for referrals to reputable distributors.
As for the actual preparation of the budget, you can create it manually or with the budgeting function that comes with most bookkeeping software packages.