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Export strategy

Developing a sound business plan for export

An export strategy is an essential component of your business plan. Keep it simple, but make sure everyone in the company involved in achieving export results is aware of the plan and has a sense of engagement with it.

Why have an export strategy?

Developing a sound export strategy helps you define your export aims and match your resources to those aims. Your export strategy will help you manage the market sectors you have identified as core business. Focusing your resources enables you to provide quality responses and service to your new export customers.

A well-developed export strategy will help in dealing with a range of service providers. It singles you out as a company that has well-developed, realistic goals and programs designed to achieve them.

Incorporating exports in your business plan

An export strategy must be integrated with your company’s overall business plan. Align export activities with daily operations and avoid any conflicts between your domestic and international activities.

Understand the areas where you have a strong competitive advantage. These areas may include your technology, your staff or business systems. Determine how best to use them to achieve your export goals. Also identify any weaknesses.

What are the key elements of an export strategy?

Bring your key export goals into sharp focus – so you know exactly where to aim your efforts. Particular aims could include reducing seasonal demand swings, reducing fixed costs, fully realising production capacity, accessing new technology, consolidating your international reputation or matching the performance of your domestic competitors who are already selling offshore. There are excellent export planning tools available online – see the list of websites below.

Use some simple scenarios

Assess the outlook for your business in the Australian market. What are the constraints on your export growth? Apply three simple scenarios from low growth and intense competition to a high growth situation. Prepare yourself for a range of marketing contingencies to help assure yourself of your company’s ability to meet varying levels of resource commitment and market demand.

It’s not complex

The best export strategy is concise and simple. It involves on-going discipline to assess why your company should export and how you will achieve your goals. Make sure your objectives are clear and that all staff involved in export contribute to the strategy.

Who can help me?

An export strategy needs external review. Your export adviser, bankers, financial advisers and business consultants can provide valuable help.

Additional information on export strategy is also available (PDF 928KB).

For more information, please call 13 28 78 or email info@austrade.gov.au.

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Useful websites

Business Victoria – http://export.business.vic.gov.au/
The Victorian Government website will take you through two sample export strategies and provides a good template to construct your own.

Digitalbusiness.gov.au – www.digitalbusiness.gov.au
This website provides guidance for small businesses, not-for-profits and community organisations to establish and/or enhance their online presence so that they can access the benefits of participating in the digital economy.

Exporting online – www.austrade.gov.au//ebusiness-for-Australian-exporters/default.aspx
Information focusing on export business online and developing your online presence – specifically for export. Here you will find tips on search engine visibility, online security and domain names, plus free access to three e-learning modules.

NSW Small Business – www.smallbusiness.nsw.gov.au
Lists the 10 key elements of a sound export strategy and provides a sample export plan.

The US Department of Commerce – www.unzco.com/basicguide/
A sample export plan and data on export strategies is available.

WA Department of Industry and Resources – www.doir.wa.gov.au/exportandtrade/
Western Australia has good advice on export marketing plans. Other state and territory governments and industry associations also feature advice on export market planning and strategy.

EXPORT PLAN
TEMPLATE

Download Austrade's Export Plan Template (PDF)

Export Finance Navigator

EFIC

Checklist

Export strategy

A sound export strategy will help you in dealing with bankers, financial advisers and government agencies. It will ensure you grow within your capability – and not stretch resources.

Make sure your domestic and international marketing activities are aligned.

Recognise your competitive strengths and provide for weaknesses.

Create your export strategy with quantifiable objectives.

Use the export planning tools available online.

Develop basic scenarios to test how your company will respond to change.

Keep it brief – but keep it current.

Seek out others to review your strategy.

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