Time frames and schedules are key to the successful implemention of export strategies

An important part of your export strategy is setting the time frame for undertaking the various marketing tasks you have set for yourself as part of the strategy. Without an implementation schedule, your strategy is endless and doomed to failure as you will inevitably put off things for later. A schedule will force you to do the tasks you have set for yourself by a certain date.

The schedule needs to be flexible and regularly revisited

Clearly, not every task will always be achievable within the time frame you have set for yourself and there may be many impediments and delays that you encounter. For this reason, you should revisit your export plan regularly revising both the strategy and the implementation shedule with any new developments affecting your export activities in mind.

What should be in the schedule?

As every firm will face a different set of export tasks, it is difficult to provide a generic export schedule. However, we can suggest the following:

  • When will your export strategy be read for implementation?
  • Do you need to adapt your product, packaging and labelling in any way and if so, how long will this take and by when should it be ready?
  • By when will your export price list be complete and published?
  • By when do you need your export brochure/catalogue or any other marketing material ready?
  • By when will your website need to be ready for exports?
  • When is the next suitable exhibition taking place in your target market? Is this exhibition an annual one and will you take place each year?
  • When do you plan to go abroad again? Will you go abroad once or twice each year? When is the most suitable time to go abroad and will you link your travel abroad to an exhibition?
  • When will you appoint an export assistant?
  • By when do you expect to get your first order?

It is suggested that you work on a three-year time frame. You should not be over confident of generating export sales much before the end of the second year. Strive towards obtaining your first order towards the latter part of year two and generate further sales (a) from other clients and (b) from your first client in year three. Bear in mind that in countries such as Japan it may 5-10 years before you manage to pentrate this market. Set yourself realistic time frames therefore!