Export Readiness Assessment

Is my business export ready?

What does it take to be ready to export abroad? Export-ready firms are flexible businesses aiming to create international value for new business partners to help grow their businesses. 

An export readiness assessment can help your firm achieve its export goals. This type of assessment involves evaluating the qualities of your firm’s goods or service that increase the likelihood of selling abroad successfully. With an increasingly interconnected world, businesses of all sizes may receive overseas demand inquiries of their market offerings, which represent 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. We summarize key takeaways from this guide below.

How do I assess export readiness? 

Many trade government agencies and business support organizations have developed tools and online “tests” aimed at helping businesses 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 can 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 and the U.S. International Trade Administration export readiness assessments.

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