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International Markets

Import and Export Assistance

To begin the planning process of how to export your product, consider the resources available at the World Trade Center Association a membership organization that shares the experiences and best practices of international trade. The US Department of Commerce  and the Wisconsin Department of Commerce have a wide range of resources available to help you assess your readiness and begin developing a plan for exporting your product. As you begin, ask yourself these questions to assess your company’s readiness:

  • What does the company want to gain from exporting?
  • Is exporting consistent with other company goals?
  • What demands will exporting place on the company’s key resources, management and personnel, production capacity, and finance and how will these demands be met?
  • Are the expected benefits worth the costs, or would company resources be better used for developing new domestic business?

Exporting takes time, planning, focus, knowing your strengths, and self reflection. The most common missteps made by novice global marketers are the failure to develop a master international plan, and insufficient commitment from top management that continues as the plan is implemented. A good exporting plan should address the following ten questions:

  1. Which products are selected for export development? What modifications, if any, must be made to adapt them for overseas markets?
  2. Which countries are targeted for sales development?
  3. In each country, what is the basic customer profile? What marketing and distribution channels should be used to reach customers?
  4. What special challenges pertain to each market (competition, cultural differences, import controls, etc.), and what strategy will be used to address them?
  5. How will the product’s export sale price be determined?
  6. What specific operational steps must be taken and when?
  7. What will be the time frame for implementing each element of the plan?
  8. What personnel and company resources will be dedicated to exporting?
  9. What will be the cost in time and money for each element?
  10. How will results be evaluated and used to modify the plan?

Importing and outsourcing also need to be well planned and the same questions can be applied.

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