The course project is aimed at learning how to develop an export plan for a business. An export plan outlines the strategies for entering a foreign market for a particular product or set of products. An export plan is a comprehensive document that covers all relevant aspects of the market entry decision. It carefully weighs the opportunities against the risks. Students will form teams to develop an export plan in writing, present it to the class, and subject it to a peer evaluation by another team. Teams can choose any company and product they wish as long as there is an element of novelty involved. An export plan should involve an existing company and should align with that company's mission.
In the first session, students should form teams of four students. Depending on class size, some teams may have three or five students. Because of constraints with presentations, there cannot be more than five teams in total. Students are required to find their own team partners by signing up to one of the team slots on the sign-up sheet that will be circulated until all students have signed up to a team. The instructor reserves the right to balance team memberships to make membership in teams roughly equal across teams. Export plan projects are chosen on a first-come first-served basis. Whoever claims a company first on the sign-up sheet can lock it up. Teams may change project topics until the end of the third week of classes.
|Team||Project||Team Members||Time Slot||Peer|
|Nathaniel, Wei (Nikki), Hannes, Arnizon, Anton, Yuanyuan||Thu., Oct. 4
|Patricio, Sheldon, Jorge B., Jonathan, George, Maria||Thu., Oct. 4
|C||Company: Canadian Liquid Gold
Product: maple syrup
|Ana, Alicia, Russell, Teri, Matthew||Thu., Oct. 4
|D||Company: Canada Goose
|Yue, Paul, Oluwatosin, Nkem, Hui, Anadi||Thu., Oct. 4
Please take note of the time slots. Because we have seven presentations, we have only 20 minutes for each time slot. Please limit your presentation to 12-15 minutes, allowing about 5 minutes for discussion, and a minute or two for changing over to the next team.
Take note of the round-robin peer assignments: team C will evaluate team A; team D will evaluate team B, and so on. Column "Peer" identifies the evaluating team and column "Team" identifies which team is being evaluated.
Each team has to deliver three components:
- Export Plan: a written export plan of about 10-12 pages that follows the stylized overview presented below but may be adapted as needed, to be turned in on the day of the in-class presentation;
- In-Class Presentation: a 15-minute in-class presentation of the export plan for feedback from the audience, and for an opportunity for other students to learn about your research;
- Peer Review Report: a 1-2 page evaluation of one export plan from another team, as assigned by the instructor in a round-robin fashion, to be turned in on the day of the final exam and to be made available to the instructor and the evaluated team.
Presentations will be held as assigned above.
Export Plan Overview
The written assignment is modelled on the application for Canada's Program for Export Market Development (PEMD). The government's Canada Business Network web site (www.canadabusiness.ca) has put together resources about writing an export plan that you should consult for this project. In short, your export plan should:
- outline the company's mission statement (what the company does) and describe the products and/or services which the company proposes to market;
- identify a target country and estimate the potential market size for your product; and
- describe possible constraints to export success such as domestic and foreign competition, tariff and non-tariff barriers, consumer preferences, and economic and financial market factors.
In addition, you should explain why, as a Canadian company, you have a competitive advantage in the making of this product. In doing so you should draw as much as possible on the theory developed in class.
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.
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 timelines.
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 activities.
State Objectives, Plan Approach and Assign Responsibility
- State your export objectives, document your motivation for exporting and include expected outcomes.
- Plan your approach by holding discussions and reaching consensual agreement on the export planning approach with key members of your firm.
- 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
- 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?
- Market Opportunities and Threats Analysis (as regards the target market)
- Sources of funding and support
- Political issues (tax, regulation, policy)
- Strengths and Weaknesses Review (firm˘s 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:
- Where do you want to export ?
- Why do you want to export to the markets you chose ?
- What do you want to export ?
- How much business you expect to do in what period of time ?
- How are you going to go about exporting, or what activities do you intend to perform ?
- What are the:
- staffing requirements and responsibilities
- financial requirements
- facilities requirements
- marketing requirements
- specific tasks or objectives to be accomplishedwho 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
Sample Export Plan Outline
This sample follows the Trade Commissioner's template.
- Business history
- Vision and mission statements
- Purpose of the export plan
- Organizational goals and objectives
- International market goals
- Short and medium-term objectives for exporting
- Location and facilities
- Level of commitment by senior management
- Relationship between exporting and other operations
- Corporate experience and expertise in exporting
- Strategic alliances
- Labour market issues
- Products and services
- Description of products and services
- Key features
- Adaptation and redesign required for exporting
- Production of products and services
- Future products and services
- Comparative advantage in production
- Market overview
- Market research
- Political environment
- Economic environment
- Size of market
- Key market segments
- Purchasing process and buying criteria
- Description of industry participants
- Market share held by imports
- Tariff and non-tariff barriers
- Industry trends and other market factors
- Market outlook
- Market entry strategy
- Target markets
- Description of key competitors
- Analysis of competitive position
- Product positioning
- Pricing strategy
- Terms of sale
- Distribution strategy
- Promotion strategy/development of sales leads
- Description of intermediaries and partners
- Regulatory and logistical issues
- Intellectual property protection
- Other regulatory issues
- Modes of transportation and cargo insurance
- Trade documentation
- Use of trade service providers
- Risk factors
- Market risks
- Credit and currency risks
- Political and other risks
- Implementation plan
- Key activities
- Evaluation criteria and process
- Financial plan
- Revenues or sources of funding
- Operating budget
- Cost of sales
- Marketing and promotion costs
- Other expenses or expenditures
Each team will have 15 minutes for presentation and 5-10 minutes for discussions with the audience, for a maximum of 20 minutes per presentation. The export plan should be turned in at the latest by noon of the presentation day in order to give the instructor time to post all export plans on the course web site.
Experience shows that you should start your research as early as possible. Identify the key issues that you need to cover (considering the outline of questions below), and allocate the work accordingly among team members. You may need to be selective as you will not have time to cover all topics. You have to focus on the most relevant issues. I strongly recommend that you rehearse your presentations.
Peer Review of Export Plan
Each team must also prepare a 1-2 page critical evaluation of another team's export plan, which will be shared with the assessed team and the instructor. The objective of the evaluation is to determine whether the export plan merits funding or approval. The evaluation should provide constructive feedback about the strengths and weaknesses of the export plan. If a plan appears too risky or insufficiently meritorious, the reasons for rejecting a proposal should be stated clearly. It is not important to go into too much detail. The focus should be on the "big picture". Did the export plan miss any essential elements? How could the export plan be improved?
Please take note of the teams correspondence in the table at the top of this page. There are columns "Team" and "Peer". Please read this as "Team X is evaluated by Peer Y".
The export plan's three deliverables are weighted as follows. The written export plan accounts for 1/2 of the grade, the presentation for 3/8-th of the grade, and the peer review of another export plan for 1/8-th of the grade for the project overall. As the export plan project accounts for 40% of the final grade, the three deliverables have a weight of 20%, 15%, and 5% of the final grade. The export plan will be assessed and graded by the instructor. The presentations will be ranked by the audience, and corresponding scores will be assigned by the instructor. Students are required to fill out a form with evaluations of their peers, which will be collected and processed by the instructor after the last of the presentations. Lastly, the peer-evaluation of another team's export plan will be graded by the instructor.
Export plans will be evaluated on the (a) quality of research; (b) internal consistency; (c) merit of the proposal overall with respect to feasibility and likely profitability. Prsentations will be evaluated on (a) quality and depth of research; (b) comprehensiveness and breadth of coverage; and (c) effective communication. Peer assessments of another teams' export plan will be graded solely on the scope of constructive feedback provided.