Developing an Export Plan
What is an Export Plan?
An export plan is your guideline for the development of your international business. It consists of the identification of markets, goals, activities, proposed ways of achieving objectives, required resources and expected results.
What is Involved in Developing an Export Plan?
Developing an export plan involves performing a variety of tasks
including conducting market research, creating a marketing plan,
deciding on market entry and service delivery methods, planning
day-to-day operations and potential expansion activities, addressing
the issues of export financing and insurance and setting targets and
Approaches to Developing an Export Plan
Export plans vary from company to company, service offering to service
offering and country to country, particular those dealing with the
export of services. The following is intended to serve as an outline
of approaches that you may take towards creating a document that will
guide you in your international business development
State Objectives, Plan Approach and Assign Responsibility
a) State your export objectives, document your motivation for exporting and include expected outcomes.
b) Plan your approach by holding discussions and reaching consensual agreement on the export planning approach with key members of your firm.
c) Assign responsibility for implementation, orient key personnel to the export planning process and determine whether to use a team approach, or to bring in an export management consultant.
Conduct Situation Analysis
To conduct a situation analysis, you may wish to address the following topics:
- History and present situation of the firm
- Industry trends
- Position within the industry
- Position within domestic and/or international market
b) Mission Statement
- What business is the firm in?
- What market/customers this company serves now and wishes to serve in the future?
- What are the needs that this company intends to fill in the international marketplace?
- How does this company meet the needs of those it serves and what is its future vision?
- What makes this company unique?
- What values does this company seek to promote?
c) Market Opportunities and Threats Analysis (as regards the target market)
- Sources of funding and support
- Political issues (tax, regulation, policy)
d) Strengths and Weaknesses Review (firms potential for success in the target market)
- Assessment of services strengths
- Assessment of market-specific strengths
- Financial resources of the firm
- Human resources (staff and management/knowledge and skills)
- Marketing and public relations
- Service product delivery
- Management policies and practices
Rank Critical Success Factors and Issues
Critical success factors and issues, some of which will be revealed during the situation analysis, should be ranked in order of importance. As a general rule, the list should contain a maximum of twelve issues. Once the critical success factors and issues are prioritized, search for options for dealing with each as this will be a crucial element of your international business development strategy. You may wish to seek help from a variety of sources such as:
- staff within your firm
- government officials
- trade consultants
- relevant associations
- seasoned exporters
- staff of foreign embassies
Questions Answered by the Export Plan
As you move towards developing the Export Plan, keep in mind that its contents should be able to provide answers to the following type of questions:
a) Where do you want to export ?
b) Why do you want to export to the markets you chose ?
c) What do you want to export ?
d) How much business you expect to do in what period of time ?
e) How are you going to go about exporting, or what activities do you intend to perform ?
f) What are the:
- staffing requirements and responsibilities
- financial requirements
- facilities requirements
- marketing requirements
- specific tasks or objectives to be accomplished
- who is responsible
- time-frame for accomplishing the task
- resources required for completion
- revenue projections based on goals and objectives
- expenses including human resources, marketing and promotion, travel, communications, office and contingency costs
- profit projections and margins
Drafting the Export Plan
Once you have performed many of the activities in the previous sections, you are ready to draft your Export Plan as per the outline in the Export Plan icon in this module.
Researching an Export Plan
Links to important sources on the web are contained in the section
Useful Links on the
BAIM 500 home page. In addition to these web sources, here is
a list of useful "conventional" sources in regard to
You will find most of them in the David Lam library.
- The Economist Intelligence Unit: Country Report (country).
Provides information about population, labour supply, political
and economic structures (GDP, inflation, exchange rates, etc.),
economic policy, financial news, business news, economic conditions
and development in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, energy and
communications, foreign trade and payment.
- The Economist. Weekly magazine published in London/England.
Provides coverage of political and business events around the globe.
In particular, the surverys published by The Economist are often
excellent starting points for country research. I have a good many
of theses surveys in my office.
You are welcome to borrow and photocopy them.
- Price-Waterhouse: Doing Business in (continent).
Commercial law in Australia, North America, South America, Europe,
Asia, Central America, and New Zealand.
- Price-Waterhouse: Doing Business in (country).
Provides data about business enterprises, multinational enterprises
in developing countries, business and commercial law, foreign trade
regulations, foreign economic relations, economic policy, international
trade, and taxation.
- IMD & The World Economic Forum: The World Competitiveness Report
Latest issue available in the Humanities/Social Sciences Division Staff
Area in the main library. ISBN 2-88149-015-8.
Call Number HF 1414 W67.
- The World Bank:
Trends in Developing Economics (Extract) (1993).
Brief introduction of each developing country, including key ratios,
GDP, prices and government finance, population, labour force, trade
and balance of payment, external debt.
- The World Bank:
Social Indicators of Development (1995).
Provides poverty and underlying economic indicators of developing
countries, such as Priority Poverty Indicators, GDP, GNP per capita,
human resources, natural resources, income, expenditure, investment
in human capital, and other demographic data (sex ratio, birth and
death rates, etc.)
- Global Economic Prospects and the Developing Countries.
Focusing on the role of external finance in development, the new
pattern of the external finance in the 1990s, the consequences
of increased financial integration of developing countries with global
capital markets, the bnefits of foreign direct investment, the
sustainability and volatility of portfolio flows, and imbalance between
slow growth in aid and flows and fast growth in the number of
claims eligible for aid.