Plan Your Market Entry Strategy: U.S. Export Regulations
Determine a Products Export Potential
Get Ready to Export: Are You Export Ready
Get Ready to Export: My Export Plan
Plan Your Market Entry Strategy: Research the Global Market Place
Plan Your Market Entry Strategy: Selecting Initial Export Markets
Success Story: Advanced Superabrasives
Success Story: Advanced Superabrasives
Finding Foreign Buyers: Trade Missions
Finding Foreign Buyers: Trade Shows
Plan Your Market Entry Strategy: Export Counseling
State & Local Government Assistance
Success Story: Spancrete Machinery Corporation
Success Story: Home Instead Senior Care
Plan Your Market Entry Strategy: Foreign Import Regulations
Intellectual Property Considerations
Navigate Your Market Successfully: Protecting your IP Abroad
E-Exporting Tools for Small Businesses
Make the Export Sale: Shipping Basics
Make the Export Sale: Export Pricing Strategy
Success Story: Alignment Simple Solution
Success Story: Patton Electronics Company
Obtaining Assistance from US Embassies and Consulates
Navigate Your Market Successfully: Business Travel Abroad
Success Story: Lightning Eliminators
Selling Overseas and Aftersales Service
Conducting Business Internationally
Rules of Origin – General Categories
NAFTA, Chile, Singapore, Australia, CAFTA-DR, Colombia, Panama, Korea, and Peru FTAs – Determining rules of origin
Rules of Origin General Categories, Chile, Singapore, CAFTA-DR, Peru, Colombia, Korea and Panama FTAs
Rules of Origin: General Categories: Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Bahrain, and Oman FTAs
Get Ready to Export: My Export Plan
The key to successful exporting is having a written strategic export plan. This article provides an introduction and sample export plan outline that can be customized for your own use. Start by viewing My Export Plan, the third of three videos in our Get Ready to Export set. The video highlights the essential elements of a solid exporting business plan: identifying your product or service, doing market research on the countries of interest, pricing of your product, and a strategy for finding buyers. Finally, you will need to identify key resources to connect you with buyers, freight forwarders and other experienced exporters.
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The purpose of an export plan is to assemble facts, constraints, and goals, and to create an action statement that takes these elements into account. The plan includes specific objectives, sets forth time schedules for implementation, and marks milestones so that the degree of success can be measured and can motivate personnel.
11 Questions you should answer in developing an export plan
Which products are selected for export development, and what modifications, if any, must be made to adapt them for overseas markets.
Which countries are targeted for sales development?
What are the basic customer profiles, and what marketing and distribution channels should be used to reach customers?
What are the special challenges (for example, competition, cultural differences, and import and export controls), and the strategy to address them?
How will your products export sales price be determined?
What specific operational steps must be taken and when?
What will be the time frame for implementing each element of the plan?
What personnel and company resources will be dedicated to exporting?
What will be the cost in time and money for each element?
How will the results be evaluated and used to modify the plan?
The first time an exporting business plan is developed, it should be kept simple. It need be only a few pages long because important market data and planning elements may not yet be available. The initial planning effort itself gradually generates more information and insight. As you learn more about exporting and your companys competitive position, the export plan will become more detailed and complete.
Your plan should be written and viewed as a flexible management tool, not as a static document. Plan objectives should be compared with actual results to measure the success of different strategies. Dont hesitate to modify and make the plan more specific as additional information and experience are gained.
A detailed plan is recommended for companies that intend to export directly, meaning selling to an end-user in another country. If your company chooses indirect export methods or sells via your or a third partys website, you may use much simpler plans.
Written plans give a clear understanding of specific steps that need to be taken and help assure a commitment to exporting over the longer term.
Only about a third of small -and medium-sized U.S. manufacturers have a written plan. Absent a plan, your business may overlook much better opportunities. In addition, reactive exporters may quickly give up on selling to international customers, concluding prematurely that its not worth the effort, or that its easier to serve customers closer to home even if that base may not grow, and could even shrink in the future.
Remember that while 59 percent of all U.S. exporters export to only a single market (predominantly Canada), many small exporters sell to more countries than they have employees, and these sales account for a growing percentage of total sales. These mini-multinationals are becoming more common, and your company can be one of them.
Your plan need only be a few pages to start. Here are some important preliminary questions to ask and the answers will become an integral part of the plan.
What need does my product or service fill in the global marketplace?
What modifications, if any, must be made to adapt my product for export markets?
Do I need special licenses or certificates from the U.S. or the buyers government?
Do I need to modify packaging or labeling?
What is the cost to get my product to market (freight, duties, taxes and other costs)?
Given an estimate of the shipping costs, what is my pricing strategy?
What, if anything, do I need to protect my intellectual property?
What modifications, if any, should I make to my website for marketing purposes?
Should I sell on third party eCommerce platforms?
What kinds of social media should I use to build awareness?
Should I attend a trade show where international buyers are present?
Are the reasons for pursuing export markets solid objectives (such as increasing sales volume or developing a broader customer base), or more frivolous (for example, the owner wants an excuse to travel)?
How committed is top management to exporting? Is exporting viewed as a quick fix for slumping domestic sales? Will export customers be neglected if domestic sales pick up?
What are the expectations? How quickly does management expect export operations to become self-sustaining? What level of return on investment is expected?
With which countries has business already been conducted, or inquiries already received?
Which product lines are talked about the most?
Are domestic customers buying the product for sale or shipment overseas? If so, where?
Is the trend of sales and inquiries up or down?
Who are the main domestic and foreign competitors?
What are some lessons learned from past export experiences?
What in-house international expertise does the company have (international sales experience, language capabilities, etc.)?
Who will be responsible for the export departments organization and staff?
How much senior management time should/could be allocated?
What organizational structure is required to ensure export sales are adequately serviced?
Who will follow through after the planning has been done?
How is the present capacity being used?
Will filling export orders hurt domestic sales?
What about the cost of additional production?
Are there fluctuations in the annual workload? When? Why?
What minimum-order quantity is required?
What is required to design and package products specifically for export?
What amount of capital can be committed to export production and marketing?
What level of operating costs can be supported by the export department?
How are initial expenses of export efforts to be allocated?
What other new development plans might compete with export plans?
By what date must an export effort pay for itself?
Do you qualify for any type of export financing?
Part I: Export Policy Commitment Statement
Identifying, Evaluating, and Selecting Markets
Internal Organization and Procedures
Sales Goals (Profit and Loss Forecasts)
Pricing with Consideration of Duties, Taxes
Freight Costs, and Logistics Included
, the U.S. federal governments export portal, also links to many resources, including the following:
If your business is just getting started, contact your nearest
Small Business Development Center (SBDC
representative for help in developing an overall business plan.
If you are an established firm with a record of domestic or
and are looking to export, your local
provide the latest market intelligence on more than 140 countries from U.S. embassies worldwide.
provides a roadmap for developing an export plan. See
Chapter 2: Developing an Export Strategy.
PlanningGet Ready to Export: My Export PlanThe key to successful exporting is having a written strategic export plan. This article provides an introduction and sample export plan outline that can be customized for your own use. Start by viewing My Export Plan, the third of three videos in our Get Ready to Export set. The video highlights the essential elements of a solid exporting business plan: identifying your product or service, doing market research on the countries of interest, pricing of your product, and a strategy for finding buyers. Finally, you will need to identify key resources to connect you with buyers, freight forwarders and other experienced exporters.Pick a Board
TheInternational Trade Administration(ITA),U.S. Department of Commercemanages Export.gov to assist U.S. businesses plan their international sales strategies and succeed in todays global marketplace. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein. This site contains PDF documents. APDF Readeris available from Adobe Systems Incorporated.