This export guide is intended to provide Alberta businesses with an introductory roadmap to the process of exporting. You will be guided through a series of modules representing the key steps that you will need to undertake to start exporting your products, including the development of an export plan.
Developing an export plan
Developing an export plan is not only necessary for applying for some types of export financial support, but it can help ensure the success of your export venture by:
- Defining your export objectives and key performance indicators to determine what success will look like for your export venture;
- Defining the processes you will need to create within your business, to help understand your budgeting and resource needs, and;
- Identifying challenges that you may encounter during the export process so that you can mitigate them.
From this website, you can download a skeleton of an export plan, which will guide you through the key sections that are typically in an export plan. To help you create this export plan, at the end of every module within this guide there will be a series of questions. Answering these questions will automatically add notes to your export plan skeleton, which you can then download and fill out. Additionally, there will be mini tools throughout the guide that will help you gather key data and information and automatically enter it into your export plan notes.
The first part of writing your plan will be defining your export objectives and identifying your staffing needs for your export venture.
It is recommended you develop objectives when you start your export journey, as they will help keep you on track when you are operating and will allow you to reflect and adapt as required.
Having well-defined objectives will help grow your business internationally, but also allow everyone involved to understand what direction your business is headed in. It is important to set SMART objectives:
- Specific: Ask yourself what your business wants to export, why exporting is important to your business, who will be the export contact point for your business, and what other resources may be required.
- Measurable: This should address what you will measure and how you will measure it. Your objectives should be quantifiable, such as the volume of international sales or the number of global clients.
- Achievable: This step ensures your objectives are realistic and address what obstacles may come up when exporting.
- Relevant: It is important to ask yourself if you export objectives align with your overall business goals. For example, if you want to grow your business, is being export-focused the most relevant objective? Can you grow your business faster domestically?
- Timely: Here, you must answer when you plan to start your export journey, and what you can do in one month, six months, and a year.
It is important that you constantly revisit your export objectives and revise them based off of the situation your company is in. When you revise your objectives, you must address why you have changed your goals, and whether your targets are still realistic.
An important consideration in your export journey is to reflect on what staffing requirements may be needed. The amount of extra staff required will depend on your current staffing capacity and their level of export expertise. Many companies will hire a market research analyst or a global business development representative in order to accomplish their export goals. These staff should be dedicated in order to ensure your export objectives are met, and that you maintain a healthy relationship with your new international clients. It is important to ask yourself if you can embark on your export journey, and at the same time keep your domestic operations sound.
Not all companies will require extra staff. You may choose to sell through an intermediary such as an agent or employ a specialty service such as a freight forwarder to handle certain aspects of your export business, which will impact the amount of expertise you require in house. Perhaps finding international clients and exporting is anticipated to be a small part of your overall business and you currently have the capacity to handle international growth in house. If so, it is still important to define who is responsible for what tasks and make sure this is defined within your objectives and export plan.
You are now ready to continue onto the other modules to learn more about the export process and help you fill in your export plan. You can complete the modules in any order or skip any if you already have strong expertise in that area. Download your export plan template at any time during the process.
Answer these questions to start filling in your export plan template. As you answer each question, your responses will be sent to your export plan template, which you can download below.
Export plan completion
This information is a guide only and should not be considered or quoted as a legal authority. While best efforts are made the keep this guide up-to-date, parts of it may become obsolete at any time without notice.