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Export Readiness Assessment

Is my business export ready? 

What does it take to be ready to export abroad? Export ready firms are flexible businesses willing to create international value for new business partners to achieve business growth. An export readiness assessment can help your firm achieve its export goals. This type of assessment evaluates the qualities of a company’s goods or service to increase the likelihood of selling products or services abroad successfully. 

With an increasingly interconnected world, businesses of all sizes may receive overseas demand inquiries of their market offerings, representing opportunities to export a product or service for the first time or expand internationally. An export readiness assessment then helps businesses determine if they have the capacity and resources to deliver a marketable product or service on a global scale at a competitive price. Various points to consider for assessing export readiness are listed in the Canadian Trade Commissioner’s Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting. Some of those key points are summarized below.

How do I assess my business’ export readiness?

Many trade government agencies and business support organizations have developed tools and online “tests” aimed at helping businesses to assess their export readiness. These tests score business performance across several areas, including: 

  • business expectations; 
  • human resource requirements; 
  • financial and legal resources; 
  • marketing methods; 
  • management commitment; and 
  • competitiveness. 

Export readiness scores determine the levels of company and product export readiness that a business has. They also guide businesses through following the necessary steps to become fully export ready. 

There are four practical steps that can help a business become export ready: 

  • make time and money commitments to fulfil export orders; 
  • have realistic expectations about the investment returns of exporting abroad; 
  • create a detailed export plan aimed at achieving real business growth; and 
  • modify product and services according to regulations and cultural preferences in foreign markets. 

Examples of export readiness assessments tools are the Canadian Trade Commissioner‘s export quiz, the U.S. International Trade Administration export readiness assessments (see below), and NASBITE International’s export readiness questionnaire. NASBITE is a non-profit membership organization supporting global business training.  

What are the different types of export readiness assessments

The U.S. International Trade Administration provides three different export readiness assessments depending on a business’s level of trade experience:

  1. Assessment for New Exporters: This involves an initial assessment of exporting needs and capabilities and helps businesses develop a first overview of their export readiness capabilities.
  2. Assessment for Expanding Exporters: This involves identifying key considerations mostly for reactive exporters. These are exporters that are responding to demand they know already exists overseas and who are seeking to overcome obstacles in the export process.
  3. Assessment for Experienced Exporters: This supports proactive, experienced trading companies in enhancing their due diligence processes and commitment to navigating larger, challenging markets or new smaller markets with high-growth potential.