Develop your export plan
Pulling your ideas together
Selling outside Jersey should be part of your overall business strategy and run alongside your existing business. It can’t be looked at in isolation so your goals need to be realistic.
If done right, your plan should be able to tell you if there is a market for your product, the best way to get into the market, how much it is going to cost you, and how much you should make in profit. So, whilst most people don’t relish the idea of writing a business plan, if you are venturing into new markets a well-researched plan will help you work through the process of how you will sell internationally and will save you a lot of headaches in the future.
Start by analysing your current business to help you formalize your thoughts and understand where your key opportunities will come from. A SWOT analysis is also a great way to identify any issues in your existing business that might need addressing as you develop your international business.
Download the Export SWOT Template and do your own analysis.
Developing your export plan
Your export plan is an extension of your business plan, or if you are setting up an exporting business then it may be your only business plan. It should reflect the new business you will generate from selling internationally and how your will manage and deliver that operationally. If you have an existing business it is important that you develop your export plan in conjunction with your current activity so that you keep your domestic business strong.
Download our Business Plan template and use it for your export business and remember, your plan is a live document that can be used as a place to collate all your research, thoughts and decisions so use it to bring all your ideas together and keep on track. Carefully work through the different sections of the business plan using your export market research to help you understand the products or services you can sell internationally.
The following sections are a guide to the things you need to be clear about as you pull the plan together. You might not have all the answers at the start, but as you work through the rest of these pages, these are the decisions you will make:
Explain how your export aspirations fit into your long term plan for the overall business.
- Identify the aims and objectives you have for working internationally and the key performance indicators that will demonstrate success.
- Identify the products and services that you intend to export and: If these products are suitable for overseas markets in their current form or will they need modification.
- If you require a licence, permit or other certification for exporting them.
- The adaptions for language, branding and packaging will you need to make.
To decide on the markets that are best for you:
- Identify the competitive factors that have led to your success in your existing markets.
- Identify your core competencies, such as unique skills or technological advantages, which will give you the edge in overseas markets.
- Identify your key competitors and their characteristics, market share and USP’s.
Then start researching possible export markets to focus in on the most appropriate market for you
- Describe the end users of your product or service and if/how they will differ from your local customer base.
- Understand the marketing tactics you will use to communicate your difference and credibility.
- Describe your potential route to market and possible international partners.
- Consider your products price points and their positioning in the market.
- Clarify if existing marketing material can be used in overseas markets.
- Identify what type of additional support you will need to provide to partners in market.
Remember, you need to deliver great customer service overseas.
- Decide who and how many staff to you need to manage your export activities and if you will need to reorganise the roles and responsibilities of staff or make other changes to your organisations structure.
- Identify how much senior management time will you need to devote to export activities.
- Identify if your business already has international expertise, for example, a sales or language capability that could be beneficial in selling outside Jersey.
- Clarify how easy it will be acquiring specialist expertise should you need it.
- Outline the additional training your staff may need to work internationally.
- Clarify if/how international sales will effect domestic business on a day-to-day basis.
- Identify the impact that export sales will have on production and if extra capacity is needed.
- Explain how/if any changes in products made specifically for export will affect production requirements.
- Identify how you will move products to overseas markets and any freight forwarder or any other partner you will work with.
- Explain if you will need to train market partners to install or offer your product or service.
- Identify the professional advice that you will take for example, drawing up legal contracts in the countries you are working in.
- Specify how you will manage the trademarks and other IP that you own in relation to new markets and/or if additional protection is needed.
Consider the logistics of exporting
Pull this together to understand how you will operate your export activities.
- Produce a financial model for your off-island activity and remember to include budgets for:
- Additional people resources.
- Marketing in country.
- Additional administrative and logistics costs for moving products or services abroad.
- Legal and professional services.
- Clarify if your current terms of trade are appropriate and how you will modify them if necessary.
- Identify the mechanism or tactics you will use to ensure that you get paid.
- Explain the additional insurance cover you will need for expanding overseas.
- Make sure you account for all relevant taxes and duties that you will have to cover when you start selling outside Jersey.
- Identify how long you can sustain an international sales drive before you need to reap rewards. It may be one or two years before an export order is received, involving several overseas trips to trade fairs or to visit potential partners or distributors. Be realistic when estimating the initial financial gains from selling outside Jersey.
- Identify if any additional financial investment is necessary and how you will secure it.
- Identify any other priority plans within your business that may compete with export for funding.
- Consider the risks that trading internationally will have on your current business.
- Consider the commercial and practical risks and how you will mitigate them.
- Look at the impact that international sales will have on you people and how you will keep them motivated.