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Exporting Basics

CHAPTER 2. Developing Overseas Markets
  Develop Export Market Plan
  Develop Export Market Plan

Systematic market planning is essential to exporting and can be instrumental in avoiding costly mistakes. As the old adage goes, unsuccessful companies don't “plan to fail, they fail to plan." What may have worked for you domestically may not work overseas. Exporters encounter different income levels and demand cycles abroad; different languages, cultures and environments; different laws and regulations; different ways of doing business; and different risks (e.g., foreign exchange fluctuations, civil strife, nationalization, etc.).

You need an Export Market Plan (EMP), and it must take account of these differences and the resulting potentials and pitfalls. Further, the objectives, goals and timetables set in the Plan must be within your means -- realistic, affordable, manageable and achievable.

The EMP provides a structure and step-by-step roadmap for your export activities. In its simplest form, the EMP addresses three basic questions:

  • Which markets are best to pursue?
  • What’s the best entry strategy for each target market?
  • What’s the action plan to implement the strategy?

See Export Market Plan Template and a Sample Export Market Plan based on the template. The CITD Trade Information Database has much of the information needed to develop the EMP, including the latest U.S. trade statistics; Country Commercial Guides; industry market surveys, trade leads for manufactures/services and agricultural products; and country-specific international trade laws and regulations.


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