Do you have a company that’s successful domestically? It might be time to consider expanding your business to international markets. Before you find your first international customer, you need to create an export plan. Doing so will keep you focused on your company objectives and allow you to share your vision with all of your employees and potential investment partners.
The idea of writing an export plan can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re relatively new to the import-export space. That’s where a sample outline can be immensely helpful. This outline can serve as your framework for developing your own export plan.
Don’t feel limited by this outline. Simply use it as a springboard to catapult your business plan. Having a sophisticated export plan is one of the keys to your success as an import-export business.
1. Executive summary
Start with an overview of your business which includes your target market and financial goals, as well as your problem-solving strategies. This is a good place to insert an initial chart that shows your predicted sales, gross margin, and profit.
Write down your top 3-5 goals as a company. Each of your objectives should be specific and measurable.
Example: Establish a customer base of 200 grocery stores and restaurants in the region.
Lay out your company’s mission. Consider what it would take to accomplish your mission.
Example: The mission of Stars and Stripes Beef is to provide American beef to grocery stores and restaurants in various countries in Eastern Europe.
2. Company summary
This section consists of your company’s history, location, management team, and legal structure.
a. Company ownership
Clarify who owns the company along with their importing experience.
Example: Stars and Stripes Beef is owned by Patrick Boskovic and a silent partner (name withheld). With over 10 years of experience managing exports from the US to Serbia and other Eastern European nations, Patrick has the expertise and regional connections necessary to run the company.
b. Start-up summary
Make a list of all start-up costs along with any investments you may have already secured.
Example: Legal – $5,000; Rent – $3,500; Insurance – $1,500; Customs duties – $1,000, etc.
c. Locations and facilities
Specify where your company will be located and describe your supply chain.
Example: Stars and Stripes Beef will have its headquarters in Amarillo, Texas. Products will be shipped to Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary via a freight forwarder. Special considerations will need to be made to keep products at the proper temperature while in transit.
Share some of the specific products you plan to import, along with their brands if applicable.
Example: grass-fed ground beef, sirloin steak, filet mignon, strip steak, ribeye steak, etc.
4. Market analysis summary
In this section, give a thorough overview of your market analysis. Provide information about the potential customers you will be serving as well as your largest competitors. Incorporate at least one graph that depicts your market analysis visually.
a. Market segmentation
Include a chart that shows your potential customers, growth, and compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
Potential Customers | Growth | CAGR
Grocery stores 13% 17%
Restaurants 12% 15%
b. Industry analysis
Describe the current status of the industry in the countries you are targeting.
Example: Because the market for US beef is relatively small, there are not many competitors exporting to Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. The demand is expected to rise in the next decade as wealthy Eastern Europeans develop a taste for American steak. This is the ideal time for Stars and Stripes Beef to enter the market.
c. Target market segment strategy
Delineate your marketing strategy for each segment of the market.
Example: For grocery stores, Stars and Stripes Beef will offer bulk quantities of ground beef and select steaks at a low price. For restaurants, Stars and Stripes Beef will provide several popular high-end steaks that are likely to succeed in fancy restaurants.
d. Competition and buying patterns
Name the main competitors of your company and clarify your strategies for maintaining your customer base.
Example: Queensland Beef is the main competitor of Stars and Stripes Beef in Eastern Europe. Queensland Beef exports beef from Australia and is limited by its distance from the target countries, which is more than double the distance between the US and Eastern Europe. Stars and Stripes Beef will leverage its ties to the US and focus on branding American steak that emphasizes quality.
5. Management summary
In this section, talk about each member of your team and their responsibilities. Clarify the payroll distribution. Don’t forget to lay out any future hiring plans as well.
Example: CEO Christine Zugravescu will focus on operations and marketing. Founder Patrick Boskovic is responsible for quality control, networking, and goods shipments. Stars and Stripes Beef will also have three sales staff, along with an executive assistant supervised by Christine.
6. Financial plan
The final section should consist of graphs, charts, and tables that represent your financial plan. The more visual this section is, the better.
Example: break-even analysis, projected profit and loss, projected cash flow, projected balance sheet, business ratios, etc.
Is your company new to the export industry? Let us take some of the burden by handling the duties and customs documentation for your shipments. At BorderBuddy, we offer solutions for small, medium, and large enterprises. Give us a call today!