Evaluate opportunities and create an export plan

How to create an export plan

What you’ll learn

  • how an export plan helps you export
  • how to use our tool to make your own export plan
  • what you should do with your plan when it is complete

Your export plan

Creating a comprehensive export plan should be one of your most important tasks.  

It’s the primary document you’ll need to share with banks, investors and business partners, to show them that you've thought through all the possibilities, challenges and risks.

Think of it as an extension of your overall business plan, rather that something that is separate from your domestic business objectives. Your plan should work alongside the rest of your business.

It shows how you’re going to sell abroad and it’s where you document all your objectives and research.

Your export plan should include information and decisions about:

  • your core business
  • exporting objectives
  • competitor analysis
  • target markets
  • your finances, HR and other resource requirements

It should also outline things like cultural differences you may have to consider and any changes you may need to make to your product or service for it to succeed in a new market.

Using our export plan tool

You can make a personalised export plan for your business using our interactive online tool that has been developed with trade experts at the department for business and trade (DBT).

How to use the export plan tool

Sign in to great.gov.uk or if you haven't created an account, sign up.

Enter your product type and target market and you’ll get global data specific to your business, focused on your areas of interest.

When prompted, you can enter your objectives, milestones, market research, product information, pricing – and everything else you need to build a strong case for your export business.

And if you are unsure how to fill in parts of your export plan – our lessons series helps you every step of the way.

What information you'll get

The export plan tool is laid out in easy-to-follow sections.

We've integrated it with dynamic data feeds from organisations such as the World Bank. You'll get authoritative information – based on what you’ve entered – so you can accurately assess the right approach and markets for your product.

Save your progress, as you go. When your export plan is complete, you'll have a clear, professional report - which can be downloaded and shared.

Keep your export plan under review

As your export business matures you'll move from thinking about how to enter new markets, to how exports fit within your overall business strategy. But it is important that you don’t neglect your export plan. Keep your initial decisions under continuous review and be realistic about your goals.

Communication is also very important and your export plan can help you with this. Use it to make sure the different sides of your business – domestic and abroad – are working together to achieve your business objectives.

Your export plan is a live document. Keep adjusting and improving it as your overseas business grows. The world doesn’t stand still, and your plans will need to move with the times – often, very quickly.

International trade adviser

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Accelerate your learning

Sign up to Great.gov.uk and you'll be able to:

  • track your learning progress and read case studies
  • join live events from the UK Export Academy
  • compare markets using live export data
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