Is your company export ready?

Determining whether your business is ready to export is an important first step. There are many online resources available to help you assess your export readiness:

Considerations for determining export readiness

Use the following questions to help evaluate whether your company is export-ready. Assess the resources and knowledge your business already has and consider changes you may need to make.

Expectations

  • Are your export objectives clear and achievable?
  • Do you have a realistic idea of what exporting entails and what it takes to succeed?
  • Are you open to new ways of doing business?

Human resources

  • Can your staff handle the extra demand associated with exporting?
  • Is your team committed to succeeding in new markets?
  • Can you respond quickly to customer inquiries?
  • Do you have personnel with culturally-sensitive marketing skills?
  • How will you deal with language barriers?

Financial and legal resources

  • Can you obtain enough capital or lines of credit to conduct your business?
  • How will you reduce the financial risks of international trade?
  • Do you have people to advise you on the legal and tax implications of exporting?
  • How will you deal with different monetary systems?
  • Is your intellectual property protected?

Competitiveness

  • Do you have the resources to do market research?
  • How do you plan to enter export markets?
  • Is your product or service viable in your target market?

Customer profile

  • Who already uses your product or service?
  • Is it in broad general use or limited to a particular group?
  • Is it popular with a certain age group?
  • Are there other significant demographic patterns to its use?
  • What climatic or geographic factors affect the use of your product or service?

Product modification

  • Do you need to modify your product or service to appeal to foreign customers?
  • What is its shelf life? Will this be reduced by time in transit?
  • Is the packaging expensive? Can it be easily modified to satisfy the demands of foreign customers?
  • Is special documentation required? Does it need to meet any technical or regulatory requirements?

Transportation

  • How easily can your product be transported?
  • Would transportation costs make competitive pricing a problem?

Local representation

  • Does your product require professional assembly or other technical skills?
  • Is after-sales service needed? If so, is it available locally or do you have to provide it? Do you have the resources to do this?

Exporting services

  • If you are exporting services, what is unique or special about them?
  • Are your services considered to be world-class?
  • Do you need to modify your services to allow for differences in language, culture and business environment?
  • How do you plan to deliver your services: in person, with a local partner or electronically?

Capacity

  • Can you serve both your existing domestic customers and your new foreign clients?
  • Will you be able to look after your export customers if domestic demand increases, or vice versa?

Find reports and statistics about export and international trade.