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By Doris Nagel

Have you ever tried driving somewhere without a map, GPS, or address? You have a general idea of the place - you may eventually get there, but you'll probably waste a lot of time, gas, and frustration -- all avoidable, if you'd spent just a little more time getting prepared.

Now imagine trying to get there in a broken-down car with no insurance, almost on empty, and you're not even sure of your destination. That's what trying to export your products globally without an export plan is like. Your export plan is your tuned-up car, your fuel, your GPS, the address of your destination, and pre-printed, turn-by-turn driving instructions.

It's easy to waste a lot of time and resources with trial and error with global exports. In today's competitive marketplace, it's possible for many companies to achieve digit export growth and make those sales a substantial part of their sales base. But to do that, you need a very clear understanding of your goals and the resources needed. Successfully growing your export sales (like the achievement of most goals) requires (1) focus, (2) commitment, and (3) consistency.

An export plan provides a blueprint for export success. It identifies and prioritizes the top markets for your company's products, any changes needed in the product (or its packaging or labeling) for the target markets, a process for identifying and managing in-country distributors and/or agents, reasonable sales growth objectives, and a timeline and resources required to meet those objectives.
NOTE: An export plan also is generally required if your company plans to seek any sort of export financing assistance.

Creating an international business plan helps you assemble facts, identify constraints and available resources, set priorities, goals and milestones, and develop the foundational processes needed for export success. Like all business plans, it should be a living document that is changed and expanded as you learn gain experience.

Even more importantly, a well-crafted export plan identifies the company resources necessary to implement the plan. This helps ensure that the export goals can be attained without costing more than expected, establishes management support in terms of time, money, and other company resources, and creates alignment across the organization. Managing an export business requires support from a variety of functions in a company. It will be difficult to achieve your export sales goal without their commitment.

An export plan is also a powerful launching tool when contacting distributors and service providers in your target market. It highlights your company's desires, strengths, and shows that you have well-developed and reasonable goals. In short, it shows you are serious about growing your export business.
In the beginning, keep your export plan simple. As long as it is a clear and useful management tool, it will be sufficient. Over time it can be refined with market data, other research, and include additional countries. It's more important that you have a plan than to start with none. Don't let the export plan become an obstacle in getting on with the business of building your global sales.
Here are our top 10 reasons you should have an export plan if you're thinking of exporting, (or why you should develop one even if you've already started exporting without a plan):

Clarity. An export plan provides a clear, concise roadmap of the markets you're targeting, your entry strategy, the resources you need to get there, and a reasonable timeline for achieving your goals.

Market Prioritization. A good export plan helps companies choose the best countries for their products. Without a clearly-articulated plan, you may overlook better opportunities, or spend your time and resources spread among too many markets.
Efficiency & Effectiveness. Your people and money resources are limited, and you want to use them in a way that is most likely to bring you the fastest and best payback. A scatter-gun approach or approaching exports opportunistically is unlikely to provide the best payback.

Minimizes Risk. Exporting has risks -- risks of non-payment or late payment, picking the wrong markets or the wrong distributors, unsuccessful investments in distributor training, product and packaging localization, and poor sales results that may affect the whole company. Without doing the research, thought, and planning that goes into an export plan, you greatly increase these risks.

Measurement. An export plan allows you to measure your progress and successes. The plan creates a snapshot of where you've started, sets milestones as any good project management plan does, and maps out key milestones and the steps needed to achieve those.

Organizational Alignment. With a good plan, everyone in your organization, as well as your export partners - your freight forwarders, your customs brokers, your distributors or agents, and your entire organization will understand the goals and the timeframes for implementing the goals.

Control. To export effectively, a company must demonstrate solid manufacturing capability or sources, quality control, the financial ability to fill an order and reliably deliver it on time and in good condition, and solid processes for collecting receivables.

Better Partners. Just as your company is more likely to choose business partners who appear professional, organized, and focused on supporting you, the best export partners are likely to choose to work with a company that appears to have clear, well thought-out goals. A company that can present a clear, professional, and detailed business plan demonstrates that is focused on its business activities, has considered and addressed risks, and is in control of its finances, rather than just operating blindly with no real idea of its own ability to live up to its promises.

Competitive Advantage. The number of smaller companies exporting is increasing rapidly, and in fact doubling small company exports is a stated goal of the Obama Administration. Your competitors may already be exporting or planning to export. If you develop and follow a good export plan, your company is likely to be more successful than competitors who are not as strategic or focused on their export business.

Increased Likelihood of Success. This is the most important advantage of an export plan. Just as driving without a clear destination and a map decreases the chances you'll get to your destination without a lot of wasted time and effort, trying to build an export business without a plan significantly decreases your likelihood of successfully growing your global sales channels, with a minimum of resources.

So now that you have your fueled-up car, your keys, your map, and a clear destination, you and your company should be better-prepared to make the global expansion journey.


LET our mastermind team and network at GatewayGlobalDistributors.com 
HELP YOU with all of your export needs for your company's global expansion.  
We have the strategies and solutions to move your business into the 21st century!  

Call us today at: 727.667.5045.  

Or use the handy form below to contact us with any questions, 
concerns or comments you may have.

Thank You for being here!
By Azaz Motiwala

Export marketing is a serious issue for most growing companies in today's interconnected global economy. Whether to export or not, where to and how to, are the major questions for companies willing to expand their international markets.

Export marketing is not just a process to find buyers/importers and approach them with the expectation of export orders but a well planned strategic marketing process one should follow and performed well to get success in International Market. Since last 10 years of my International Marketing consultancy practice, I have found that major export marketing efforts get failed due to lack of implementing strategic marketing action plan.

So what is that strategic marketing action plan..?

Strategic marketing action plan is a set of key functional areas of export marketing which should be performed well and followed step by step to get succeed in Export marketing. Performing following key tasks step by step will give you a rapid success in export marketing with sustainable and profitable export sales growth.

Step-1 : Identify your target market
First step of export marketing is to identify target market and market needs where your products/services has good market potential and demand. There are many countries in world and you should pick right one(s) for your product and services. If you know your target market and market needs, you could easily get export orders from those countries. You can identify target market by conducting International Market research activity that will give you detailed knowledge of opportunities in International market.

Step-2 : Developing Export Marketing strategies
After identifying target market, second step of export marketing is to develop a right Export Marketing Strategies including market entry strategy, positioning strategy, product strategy, pricing strategy, branding strategy, supply strategy and promotional strategy according to target market needs. Based on the conclusions of the International market research, you will be able to develop the strategy to meet your export marketing objectives. Your Export Marketing strategies should be able to develop a sense,

*  To enter in right market where your products/services has good market potential and demand 
*  To position appropriately that give you and edge over competitor 
*  To develop products/services that satisfy needs of buyer, 
*  To offer prices that give both of you and your buyer a competitive advantage, 
*  To offer own brand or private label solution 
*  To supply as per ready stock or buyer's requirements 
*  To promote your company that creates awareness among buyers/importers

If you have developed right export marketing strategies you could enter and develop international market faster with sustainable export sales growth.

Step-3 : Preparing Marketing Communication tools
Once you have developed strategies based on target market needs, third step is to prepare informative and appealing marketing communication tools like Company Profile, Sales letter, Product Catalogue, Brochures, Website etc. that can supports in positioning and promoting your company. Your all marketing communication tools should be well designed, informative, professional and appealing that can deliver all necessary information of your company and products/services to prospective buyers/importers and influence their decision to start business communication with you.

Step-4 : Promotion
After preparing marketing communication tools, next step is Promotion which plays a major role in export marketing success. Main objective of promotion is to create awareness among buyers/importers of what you are and what you offer. Promotional mix should be cost effective and should deliver right message, in right time and at right place. Promotion should lead buyers/importers to get attention, capture interest and take action in initiating business communication with you. Internet is the best cost effective and fastest promotion tool in present export marketing practices. It has been seen that major buyers/importers using search engines, B2B portals and directories to find and contact genuine suppliers. So presence of your company profile and products/services in major search engines like Google, yahoo and B2B portals like Alibaba.com will give your company a global exposure and creates awareness among buyers/importers effectively. Participating in Trade fairs, Exhibitions and catalogue shows is also a good offline promotional strategy which can generate a direct and live contact with buyers/importers.

Step-5 : Generating Export Inquiries
Success in export Marketing begins with generating genuine export inquiries from prospective buyers/importers which requires expertise and focused work of promotion, sourcing genuine buyers and approaching them professionally. One should study buyer's profile and/or buy leads to know whether you can offer them what they requires. It has been seen that many suppliers contact majority of those buyers/importers who have no interest in their product/services without understanding their profile and needs. A Buyer/importer can send you inquiry only when he needs your products/services either better than his existing supplier in terms of either Quality, Price, Services and/or developing more suppliers and/or for other reasons. So contact them by offering competitive advantage which can get them interested to send you inquiries which can be converted in to export orders by communicating and negotiating professionally.

All above steps are inter connected and can only give results if each step performed or performing well. Export marketing is a continuous process and all those key functions can be reviewed and modified time to time as per changing global economic and market situation.


LET our mastermind team and network at GatewayGlobal Distributors
HELP YOU with all of your export needs for your company's global expansion.  
We have the strategies and solutions to move your business and products 
into the 21st century worldwide!  

Call us today at: 727.667.5045.  

Or use the handy form on this page to contact us with 
any questions, concerns or comments you may have.

Again...Thank You for being here!
We Would Love To Hear From You!
TEL: 727.657.3339