Export Readiness Assessment Guide

Is my business export ready? 

One of the first questions to consider is why Export? What are the benefits?

Research shows companies that export are more profitable, more productive and more innovative than those that do not. Research has shown that businesses are 11% more likely to survive if they export. The reasons for this range from spreading export risk amongst different country markets, to increasing turnover and improving innovation by developing specific services for specific overseas markets.

  • Increased Sales – If you are selling well in your own home market, and your service is in demand, exporting is a way to develop new additional sales in other countries. If your services are in demand at home, then there is likely to be significant demand in foreign markets.
  • Higher profits result from increased sales – If you can cover fixed costs through domestic operations or other types of financing, your export profits can grow very quickly.
  • Economies of scale – You can benefit from the cost savings when you produce and sell more services. The benefits from the economies of scale can be very advantageous.
  • Global competitiveness – The experience your company gains internationally will help keep you competitive in both your home market and in the global marketplace.
  • Domestic competitiveness – Successful exporting companies are often more resilient to potential foreign competition.
  • Reduced risk – If you can sell into several different countries, you are spreading the risk. If you diversify into international markets, you avoid depending on a single marketplace and suffering from any domestic instability.
  • New knowledge & experience leads to innovation – The global marketplace abounds with new ideas, approaches and marketing techniques that could also prove successful in your home market. Adaptations to your service for example leads to new innovations and new service development.

Trading internationally not only helps with all of the above, in addition trading globally can boost your company’s profile, reputation and credibility.


Is my business export ready? 

We live in an increasingly interconnected world, which means that businesses of all sizes might receive enquiries from buyers in other countries. An export-ready business is one that has the capacity, resources and management to deliver a marketable service on a global scale at a competitive price. To determine if your business is ready to export internationally you can do your own export readiness assessment.


Here is a check list of areas to consider

  • Set clear and achievable export objectives. Develop an Export Plan.
  • Understand your service USPs (unique selling points) in export markets.
  • Formulate a realistic idea of what exporting entails and create a timetable for results.
  • Understand what is required to succeed in the international marketplace.
  • Confirm you have staff in place with the knowledge and skills to trade internationally or are willing to learn
  • Is finance in place to help scale up for export?
  • Undertake market research and decided on the best international target markets. These could be neighbour countries who are part of a trading bloc or developed countries with large populations and large purchasing power.
  • Understand international marketing requirements.
  • Research your competitors – both international competitors but also competitors based in the country which you want to export to.
  • Considered any adaptations that may be required.
  • Understand any cultural and language needs.
  • Research your market entry strategy how, and to whom you will sell to in the export markets: Direct sales to a business or consumer / Intermediary representatives / licensing / foreign direct Investment through establishing a company in your target export market
  • Understand destination country regulations, export and import documentation, customs requirements and procedures.

You can also use export readiness assessment tools. A typical export readiness assessment will involve answering questions to determine a final score. This score is then used to help guide businesses through the necessary steps to become fully export ready. See the links for more information.


Links to Supporting Information

The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service           Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting(tradecommissioner.gc.ca)


Official Website of the International Trade Administration USA   Exporter Assessments (trade.gov)


Government of Canada Export quiz  Are you ready? (international.gc.ca)


Caribbean Export Development Agency  10 Steps to Exporting | Caribbean Export (carib-export.com)


Kenya Export Promotion & Branding Agency  BrandKE – Guide to Exporting


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