Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre

Writing an Export Plan

When looking at markets outside of your firm's domestic borders it is essential that you appreciate all of the factors involved in exporting. Writing and organizing an export plan is the best way your company can assess, prepare, and organize its export venture. On average, it takes about a three-year commitment to establish a presence in a foreign market. This will require the resources of people and finances during this developmental period, as well as support and commitment from upper management.

Before actually researching, organizing and writing your export plan, an assessment of your current operations, and the risks and opportunities that exporting will offer, needs to be completed.A diagnostic evaluation will help you assess whether your objectives for exploring foreign markets will be satisfied and whether the risks of the venture are truly worth the returns.

Diagnostic Evaluation

In the diagnostic evaluation, the items to examine are the current trends and the growth potential of your industry.An industry in decline, a highly competitive industry, or a saturated domestic industry may motivate seeking growth potential in markets abroad. This assessment should also gauge your firm's management's commitment to exporting, available financial and human resources, and production capabilities.

Your company: Who are we? Does the firm have experience exporting? Does management support this export venture?

  • Export objectives: What are your firm's motivations for exporting?
  • Your products/services: What do we offer to an export market?
  • Market entry strategy: How will you price your product/service? How will you promote your product/service?

After reviewing these questions and completing your assessment, you should have a clear picture of whether or not to proceed in further investigating exporting as a business venture. If favourable, you can go on to writing an export plan.

Solid market research is vital to the success of any export venture. Search for market research on ExportNavigator, a Web site offered by the Federation of International Trade Associations. Plug in a product and a country and see what reports come back. For example, a search on "medical technology" and "China" returns data on the Chinese health care system, the medical equipment market, treatment of medical waste, modernization of health institutions and more -- from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade and the European Commission, among other sources. FITA guarantees that the 10,000 market surveys on the site are reliable, available to anyone and not more than two years old.

Visit the website here: ExportNavigator

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