Getting Ready to Export
When your company decides to look towards foreign markets for selling your product(s) you need to make an Export Plan. The Export Plan is basically a Business Plan with an international market focus (specifically, the target market(s) you have selected). The Exporter Plan describes the company’s target market(s) in detail, clarifies your export goals, activities and objectives, and determines the resources necessary to achieve your anticipated positive results.
It is essential that you spend the time and effort needed to plan your efforts in an organized, efficient and straight forward way. Not only is it vital for your company in terms of providing a working guideline for your efforts but it is also a principle way of communicating your company’s strengths and goals to important contacts en route to and within the target market. Indeed, many key decision makers, from financial officers to importers, will be reviewing and evaluating your Export Plan as you proceed to the get your goods to market.
As we move on to reviewing the Exporter Plan in more detail, it is important at this time to note that even as you proceed to plan toward the export market, it is vital not to do so at the peril of your domestic/ existing markets. In other words, as you plan to export to new markets, continue to maintain and manage the market(s) that have led you to this point of success.
In summary, Export Plans are developed in order to:
· Define the target market: the risks, demographics, demand, logistics, legal issues, commercial issues such as currency;
· Set a course and define a purpose for your business activities;
· Identify your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats;
· Identify financial an other resource demands of exporting;
· Substantiate qualification for obtaining credit/export financing
o For many companies, if there is no plan it is next to impossible to get any export financing.
Some key questions to ask yourself when creating your export plan:
· Customer profile: Who already uses your product/service?
· Product modification: Are they required?
· Transportation: How easy? Expensive?
· Local representation: Requires training, assembly, service?
· Exporting services: Unique, world-class? Delivery?
· Capacity: Can you serve domestic and foreign markets?
We turn now to some of the key elements of an Export Plan:
Key Elements of an Export Plan
· Analysis of domestic market performance
· Export objectives and goals
· Market Research (leading to and including Target market(s))
· Delivery of product/service
· Marketing Plan
o sales strategy
o pricing strategy
o promotional strategy
o distribution channels
· Sales forecasts - monthly, annually
· Production plan - ensuring enough capacity, machinery, raw materials, personnel
· Assessment of risk - what will competitors do?
o What are you contingency plans?
· What political or economic risks exist?
· Evaluation - how to judge if you are successful
· Financial forecast - will you make money?
· Do you have sufficient cash flow?
· How will you finance your exports? Bank? Equity?
· The plan is not static – be prepared for change
The full details of what your Export Plan should include are outlined in the Export Plan Template (next section - available only if registered). Please note additional resources regarding making your Export Plan are available from various sources on-line and elsewhere. These include:
ExportSource.ca - http://exportsource.ca/gol/exportsource/site.nsf/en/es01875.html
Developing an Export Strategy - http://www.unzco.com/basicguide/c1.html
Developing and Export Plan - http://strategy.sauder.ubc.ca/antweiler/baim500/exportplan.html