To ensure success in exporting (as, indeed, with any business) you must plan your exports (or business strategy) carefully. Planning and preparing for exports is a complicated process. It involves undertaking a lot of research and analysis of your firm and your intended target markets (which has already been done), setting export objectives, outlining your export marketing strategy, preparing an export budget, outlining an implementation schedule, and presenting and obtaining approval for the export plan.

The end result will be a formal (written) plan of action that serves as a framework for the development of your firm’s export business. It outlines the identification of organisational goals, target markets and the activities that will enable your firm to achieve its objectives. It will also indicate what resources you require and what results you can expect from your firm’s export endeavours and will enable you to measure the success or failure of your export endeavours.

There are many steps involved in the export planning process and some experts structure the process slight different than others – the exact structure or headings that are used doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you end up with a plan of action that you have carefully thought through and that will guide in your export efforts. We suggest that your export plan contain the following steps:

  1. Synopsis of research already done
  2. Revisiting an export SWOT analysis of the firm
  3. Setting the export objectives of the firm
  4. Preparing an export marketing strategy for your firm
  5. Preparing an export budget for your firm
  6. Outlining an implementation schedule for your export activities
  7. Preparing and presenting your export plan
  8. Obtaining approval of the plan