Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Profit Accelerator > Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do you have any questions or doubts?

While advisers in your target country are available to help answer your questions, below are some of the questions and answers we have been discussing with our member companies so far. Please have a look if you have any doubts about our programme.

The export of food is feasible all the time! Clearly the health pandemic makes it all but impossible for international buyers and sellers to meet but there is still a need to be able to import export food. If you are new to exporting, then my suggestion would be to identify a handful of potential customers, contact them directly to discuss their needs and then offer to send samples of your produce. Yes, there will be a cost to this, but it is cheaper than going to visit and gives potential customers a chance to assess the quality of your produce.

If you really feel that there is a need to meet in person, then use the current lock down to plan for when restrictions are lifted. Prepare a marketing plan. Prepare marketing materials. And be ready to grab opportunities when they arise.

Depending on the products, there may be scope to collaborate with other businesses in order to sell to customers who need larger quantities and more frequent deliveries than you might be able to guarantee if you are working alone. PROFIT can potentially help to bring businesses together to do this.

Whilst there is a finite period of support available from ADB to support a pilot programme, we very much hope that the PROFIT programme will be able to continue in some format. The training materials, videos and factsheets will certainly all remain available and we hope that other elements of the programme can be sustained also. The precise arrangements will be agreed early next year.

We currently have around 30 mentors with a wide variety of experience and expertise across different areas of import and export and across many sectors. In general, the aim of the mentoring is to help businesses to think through options and to take decisions for themselves so the precise background an individual mentor, in many cases, does not affect the support and guidance that a mentor is able to provide.

Mentors are thus allocated by Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry or by ASSIST largely depending on who is available. In a small number of cases, where we can see that sectoral expertise will be an asset, we will aim to match accordingly. We understand that the ability of a mentor to support a client often comes down to whether the parties can quickly establish a rapport – and we understand that sometimes this will not happen. So we are very open to any client asking us to change their mentor – just as we are open to any mentor asking us to change their clients.

It is rarely possible to raise capital in a hurry. Financial institutions will want to see a business plan and/or an internationalisation action plan and they will want to see financial forecasts. That is why we have a training module and several factsheets on finance and why we are planning to offer additional mentoring support to any client who needs to raise finance.

It is also why we are aiming to build relationships with a handful of financial institutions who are willing to meet with PROFIT clients. If you think that you are likely to need finance, then you should be planning for that eventuality, even if you do not need it straightaway. But having the facility available will mean that you can draw on a credit line when you get that ‘sudden order’.

It is important to remember that most trade data is gathered by customs authorities and is gathered for the purpose of informing governments rather than to help traders. However, many customs authorities do also make that data available publicly.
More general trade data is available from:

The short answer is in the same way as in your own country – though clearly it is harder because you are not there. Look at the trade data (though treat it with caution). Search for any market research reports on your sector – often these are available online. Talk to businesses in the country if at all possible. Read our factsheets on Market Research and Test Marketing. Ask your mentor for advice. And if you have very specific questions, come back and talk further.

The easiest and quickest way to answer this question is to contact the trade promotion agency in the target country. Contact details are available on our factsheet on Sources of Information. Vietnam now has an extremely good service listing all requirements for both exports and imports…


(There is currently an error in the code for imports other than those specifically listed and I have reported this to ITC). If you find that you have very specific questions but have not been able to find the answer, then come back to us as we may be able to commission a consultant in the target country to seek out the information for you.

Yes, we can help you find possible partners, but we are not able to help you find businesses that would only be customers. Partners might include businesses that will work with you to sell your product such as distributors or agents, or businesses that might assemble or manufacture your product under licence, or work with you on technology transfer, or in other ways.
You should, with your mentor, prepare a couple of paragraphs: the first should describe your business; the second should describe, as precisely as you can, the ideal partner business. We will then commission a search. It is likely that a search will take 10-15 days so the earlier that you start this process, the better. You can continue discussing other elements of your internationalisation plan with your mentor whilst you await the results of the search.
We had hoped that we would see businesses being able to travel to meet potential partners and to assess foreign markets for yourselves. We had planned on being able to provide travel bursaries to defray the costs of such a mission. At present, however, it looks unlikely that businesses will be able to travel.
As noted above, for very specific questions, where you have been unable to determine an answer, we can commission technical assistance. We cannot help with working capital but we will support you in an submitting proposals to financial institutions including, if you wish, your mentor accompanying you to an interview. We are also planning to give cash awards at the end of the programme to recognise the businesses that have made the most progress.
If this question is asking whether PROFIT can assist with marketing directly, then the answer is no. However, we can give advice on marketing, branding, use of websites etc. We have factsheets on MarketingPlan and MarketingMix as well as on other aspects of marketing and some of our mentors can offer detailed advice with marketing so, if necessary, we could offer an hour or two with a different mentor to answer this specific question. For B2B businesses, usually the best way to raise visibility is through direct communication, so take the time to think carefully about what you want to say to potential customers.
Remember, too, that customers buy ‘benefits’, yet most businesses focus on telling customers all about the features of their product. So just changing the way that you market may raise your visibility. See our factsheet on MarketingPlan. If you are a B2C business, then raising visibility is always a challenge for a small business. Aim to work through distributors or to partner with businesses who complement your products. But aim, too, to secure editorial coverage in the media, especially the media that may be read by your ultimate target audience.
We have undertaken not to share details of businesses that have registered without their agreement so we cannot simply put everyone’s details on the website. However, we will set up a Linked In group or Facebook group in the very near future and will invite you all to participate.