Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How to write an export plan

With the United States only exporting one percent of what we make, it is no wonder that we are running a trade deficit.  And, when surveyed, the majority of businesses in Central Texas state that the reason they do not export is because they do not know how, or they think that the process is too complicated, or they are worried about getting paid.  All of which can be easily overcome with a simple export plan.

Most small and midsize U.S. exporters do not have a written export plan. Lacking a plan, it's easy to get discouraged and give up or to miss opportunities that having a strategy might reveal.

An effective export plan need only follow the simple outline below.

Executive Summary (1 or 2 pages maximum)

Introduction: Why Your Company Should Export
Reasons can vary from finding new markets to defensively addressing competitors on their home turf.

Part I
Export Policy Commitment Statement

Part II
Situation/Background Analysis
·         Product or Service
·         Operations
·         Personnel and Export Organization
·         Resources of the Firm
·         Industry Structure, Competition, and Demand

Part III
Marketing Component
·         Identifying, Evaluating, and Selecting Target Markets
·         Product Selection and Pricing
·         Distribution Methods
·         Terms and Conditions
·         Internal Organization and Procedures
·         Sales Goals: Profit and Loss Forecasts

Part IV
Tactics: Action Steps
·         Primary Target Countries
·         Secondary Target Countries
·         Indirect Marketing Efforts

Part V
Export Budget
·         Pro Forma Financial Statements

Part VI
Implementation Schedule
·         Follow-up schedule
·         Periodic Operational and Management Review (Measuring Results Against Plan)

Background Data on Target Countries and Market
·         Basic Market Statistics: Historical and Projected
    • Size of market,
    • Import/Export traffic in your product category
    • Trade restrictions, tariffs, and other potential barriers
·         Background Facts
    • Political, Economic, Social-cultural, Technological environment
·         Competitive Environment
    • Local competitors
    • Foreign competitors
Ready to get started?

The Department of Commerce provides an excellent workbook on how to develop an export plan at
and has step-by-step guides on how to conduct country market research at 

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