Ready, steady, plan

You’ve identified your target export market and you are armed with market research. Good to go? Not until you’ve put together an export plan.

Exporting costs: You need to plan how to sustain the company until exporting generates a profit as well as how to balance your existing and new customers.

The planning process will help you crystallise your thinking, identify any barriers to be overcome and create an action plan with defined responsibilities, outputs and timescales.

An export plan is also vital if you’re looking for financial support to help launch your export efforts.

Questions your export plan should answer

  • How will you deal with agents, distributors, staff and even customers at a distance? By email, phone, visiting, having an office in-market or by employing staff overseas? What works in your target market?
  • How are you to make contact with your chosen sales outlet?
  • Do you need to change your product or service to meet the needs or technical regulations of the market?
  • How will you cope with cultural and language requirements?
  • How will you market your product? Don't assume your existing marketing plan will translate directly into an international version. It must be tailored to suit the target market. Find out how on the website.
  • Is your website as good as it needs to be?
  • How much will it cost? And how are you going to finance it?
  • How will you get paid?
  • What paperwork is required?

Practical export advice

If you want expert insight into preparing for exporting, sign up for Explore Export on 7 November in Belfast. The event is free for local companies and, as well as the chance to speak to trade advisors representing 33 countries, there will be seminars to help you with the practicalities of exporting.

You could also register for one of our upcoming Export Skills Workshop to get guidance on targeting, researching and developing export markets.