The export Business Plan is essential to any business involved in manufacturing, and looking to expand its market internationally. As well, developing an Export Business Plan will unlock opportunities for Canadian Business to work with the many programs available through Export Development Canada.

An Export Business plan answers the following questions:

  • Geographic/Social/Cultural Analysis
  • Why did you select this area over other possible areas of the world?
  • Are there any factors in this market, which would impact on your ability to be successful?

Product Analysis

  • Will the functions of your product be valued in the same way in the target export market? Will it change the way things are presently done (eg. a labour saving device may not be required in a low wage environment)?
  • What products are currently available in the target export market to meet the needs of your potential customers?
  • Will the introduction of your product be compatible with the technological capabilities or degree of readiness for product acceptance, or will changes be required?

Who Are Your Customers?

  • How are the customers in your target export market similar to those in your present market, what are the characteristics that are different? Will they have the same buying patterns? Do they require significant personal contact before committing to a product?
  • Are customers in your target market loyal to their suppliers and products presently in use? Will this present problems in penetrating the market?
  • What are some of the concerns your foreign customers may have in buying your product? These might include high prices, servicing problems, financing, technical backup, perception of your long-term commitment to the market, etc.


  • What are the main channels of distribution for your product at the present time? Will similar channels be available in the target export market and will they be the most effective in this new market?
  • What are the common industry distribution channel practices in the target export market? How does your proposed method compare (eg. in terms of price, available middlemen, etc.)?
  • What is the quality of the infrastructure, including suitable transportation (roads, trucking, trains, planes), services (reputable banks, electricians, etc.), warehousing, communications (dependable phones), and an accessible legal system.
  • What are the logistics of getting your product to the target export area (eg. the mode of transportation, insurance, documentation required, terms of sale such as FOB and CIF).


  • What are the promotional vehicles available to promote your product in the target export market ? (eg. trade publications, trade fairs, competent representatives and distributors, etc.). Are they sufficient and of good quality? Which ones will be used?
  • What are the packaging/labelling requirements in the target export market? What language translations or modifications are needed?


  • Will the price structure may change in the target export market. What the effects of the costs for transportation, insurance, duties, taxes, mark-ups for middle men, changes in packaging, and technical translation, etc?
  • What is your price list for the target export market in their currency?
  • How will any required price changes affect your competitiveness in the target export market?
  • What are the terms and prices of existing competitors’ products in the target export market?


  • What are the potential currency problems in your target export market (eg. foreign exchange risk, inflation, multiple exchange rates)?
  • Do the target clients have the convertible funds to buy your product? Will purchases be tied to foreign aid or concession financing? Will it be available?
  • What are the contractual methods your foreign clients will expect? What recourse do you have if the contract is breached?
  • What method of payment do you intend to use for customer billing in the target export market? What is the common industry practice in that market?

Industry Profile/Competitive Analysis

  • Who are your competitors and how would you rank them?
  • What foreign standards (eg. consumer, government health and safety, etc.) should your product meet?
  • Are foreign co-production or assembly requirements an issue?
  • Is there a requirement to maintain and service the products locally in the target market?
  • How will the government of the target area influence the marketing of your products? What are the import regulations and restrictions? Are there requirements to trade through local representatives or through government bodies?
  • Is your product subject to Canadian export controls or is the target export market on the Area Control List?