Beginning Your Export Journey

Before you dive headfirst into the exporting game, you need to make sure you’re ready. This Export Road Map is designed to simplify your exporting journey and provide you with resources that can make your life easier.
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Begin Your Export Journey, Step by Step

Explore the steps below as a quick reference for everything from building your export plan to weighing your return options once you’ve gone global.

Based on your answers, start at:

Step 1: Overview: Preparing for Success

Before you dive headfirst into the exporting game, make sure you’re ready. Starting out on the right foot can make all the difference in the world, so we suggest starting on step 1.

Step 3: Build an Effective Business Plan

Step 6: Move Your Product

1

Overview: Preparing for Success

Get Ready to Go Global

2

Build an Effective Business Plan

3

Determine Pricing

4

Identify Buyers

5

Move Your Product

6

Choose A Payment Method

7

Develop After-Sales Support

8

Keep Your Plan Running Smoothly

9
Trade Roadmap

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Now that you know why, explore more ways to prepare for success in our full guide: The Export Road Map.

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Export checklist

EXPORT CHECKLIST

Use this as a quick reference for everything from building your export plan to weighing your return options.

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Overview: Prepare for Success

1

Why should you export?

Everybody wants a piece of the global marketplace.

96%

of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S.

Plus, the cost of doing business internationally has never been lower, thanks to today’s technological advancements and Free Trade Agreements.

Top Reasons to Export
  • Tap a larger customer base
  • Gain more revenue
  • Increase profit margins
  • Grow your brand exposure
  • Beat your competition to a new market
  • Balance out seasonal sales spikes
  • Increase market share
  • Find tax advantages
  • Create jobs
Trade Roadmap

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE

Now that you know why, explore more ways to prepare for success in our full guide: The Export Road Map.

Download the PDF
Export checklist

EXPORT CHECKLIST

Use this as a quick reference for everything from building your export plan to weighing your return options.

Get the checklist

Get Ready to Go Global

2

Assess your export potential.

Consider a few questions to help you determine if your company is ready to export:

What does your company want to gain from exporting?

Is exporting consistent with other company goals?

What demands will exporting place on your company’s key resources, management and personnel, production capacity, and financing?

How will you meet these new demands?

Are the expected benefits worth the costs, or would company resources be better used for developing new domestic business?

For a more in-depth list of things to consider, 
read these Exporting Basics.
Assess your product.

If you’re selling domestically, it’s likely that you’ll be able to find a similar market with similar needs abroad — especially if your product or service has unique features that are difficult for international competitors to duplicate.

Trade Roadmap

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE

Now that you know why, explore more ways to prepare for success in our full guide: The Export Road Map.

Download the PDF
Export checklist

EXPORT CHECKLIST

Use this as a quick reference for everything from building your export plan to weighing your return options.

Get the checklist

Build an Effective Business Plan

3

Be sure to create a thorough export plan.

Creating an effective export plan is the most important step you’ll make toward export success.

42%

of 460 self-funded startups cited a lack of capital as the biggest obstacle to growth

Source

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to finance your export plan. You just have to know where to look.

At first, it’s important to keep your export plan simple — no more than a few pages. You should update it as you learn more about exporting.

What goes into an export plan?
  • Executive summary
  • Export policy commitment
  • Market analysis and strategy implementation
  • Financial analysis
  • Background analysis
  • Logistics — mode of transportation, speed, rate quotes, etc.
Trade Roadmap

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE

Now that you know why, explore more ways to prepare for success in our full guide: The Export Road Map.

Download the PDF
Export checklist

EXPORT CHECKLIST

Use this as a quick reference for everything from building your export plan to weighing your return options.

Get the checklist

Determine Pricing

4

Key steps to help you determine pricing:

Prepare

Analyze

Implement

STEP

1

Determine your objective in the foreign market.

STEP

2

Compute the actual cost of the export product.

STEP

3

Compute the final consumer price.

Prepare

Analyze

Implement

STEP

4

Evaluate market demand and competition.

STEP

5

Consider modifying the product to reduce the export price.

STEP

6

Include "non-market" costs, such as tariffs, customs fees, etc.

FedEx® Global Trade Manager can help you calculate duties and taxes ›

Prepare

Analyze

Implement

STEP

7

Exclude cost elements that provide no benefit to the export function, such as domestic advertising.

STEP

8

Identify the 

Incoterms

 applicable to the transaction.

STEP

9

Calculate your profit margin after considering all of the above.

Next step« Back to Table of Contents
Trade Roadmap

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE

Now that you know why, explore more ways to prepare for success in our full guide: The Export Road Map.

Download the PDF
Export checklist

EXPORT CHECKLIST

Use this as a quick reference for everything from building your export plan to weighing your return options.

Get the checklist

Identify Buyers

5

So you’re getting past the planning phase.

Now it’s time to find qualified buyers in the market you’ve chosen. You’re in luck. There are plenty of resources and services for businesses in this exact position.

The Gold Key Matching Service (GKMS)

Allows the U.S. Commercial Service to arrange meetings with pre-screened contacts, distributors, professional associations, government contacts, and/or licensing or joint venture partners.

International Partner Search (IPS)

Based on your marketing materials and background information, trade specialists in more than 80 countries will find the most suitable and strategic partners for your business.

Whether or not you use a matching service, you can find potential buyers by conducting your own market research. 

Use this “Step-by-Step Approach to Market Research” as a starting point

. And you should take all the help you can get. You’ll have more time to focus on what you love: growing your business.

For more information about the GKMS, IPS, and other partner services, contact your local U.S. Commercial Service office.Check out these additional webinars to help you with your export business, available on-demand 24/7
Trade Roadmap

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE

Now that you know why, explore more ways to prepare for success in our full guide: The Export Road Map.

Download the PDF
Export checklist

EXPORT CHECKLIST

Use this as a quick reference for everything from building your export plan to weighing your return options.

Get the checklist

Move Your Product

6

Every country will have different rules and regulations.

Once you find your buyers, you’ll have to decide whether your product needs to be modified somehow before you ship.

Do you need to rebrand the product to appeal to your target audience in this new market? In addition to adapting your product for cultural or consumer preference reasons, there may be foreign government regulations that can impede market penetration.

For assistance dealing with specific regulations in your country of interest, contact the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Trade Roadmap

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE

Now that you know why, explore more ways to prepare for success in our full guide: The Export Road Map.

Download the PDF
Export checklist

EXPORT CHECKLIST

Use this as a quick reference for everything from building your export plan to weighing your return options.

Get the checklist

Choose a Payment Method

7
There are plenty of different ways to receive payment from your international customers, and the option you choose will have a lot to do with your business model.

You'll also need to consider various payment barriers, such as foreign currency.

The U.S. dollar is widely accepted, but you may have to deal with foreign currency, depending on your buyer. A simple way for you to avoid any issues with foreign currency is to always quote your prices in U.S. dollars. That places the burden of conversion on the buyer.

Here are the basic methods of payment:

  • Cash in advance
  • Documentary letter of credit
  • Open account
  • Documentary collection or draft
  • Other payment methods
Learn More About These Options
Go paperless to do better business. FedEx® Billing Online helps provide visibility of any international billing issues and an opportunity to quickly resolve them. 
Learn More
Trade Roadmap

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE

Now that you know why, explore more ways to prepare for success in our full guide: The Export Road Map.

Download the PDF
Export checklist

EXPORT CHECKLIST

Use this as a quick reference for everything from building your export plan to weighing your return options.

Get the checklist

Develop After-Sales Support

8

Generate happy returns.

What are your options if a return is necessary? Customer satisfaction is your most important currency.
You’ll need a clear plan for returns and other after-sales support.

Learn More about FedEx Global Returns

Requiring the buyer to return the product.

Consider this option carefully. It is the highest-cost option — for you and your customer. Plus, your customer will lose the use of the product during the entire process. If the product is low-cost, then you can always simply replace it.

Identify and use a local service facility.

The costs of things like planning and training can sometimes be worth it in the long run. If your export venture is successful, you may even consider establishing your own branch or subsidiary in the new market.

Trade Roadmap

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE

Now that you know why, explore more ways to prepare for success in our full guide: The Export Road Map.

Download the PDF
Export checklist

EXPORT CHECKLIST

Use this as a quick reference for everything from building your export plan to weighing your return options.

Get the checklist

Keep Your Plan Running Smoothly

9

6 things you can do to check your plan periodically.

It’s important to constantly re-evaluate and (if necessary) tweak your plan to maintain your level of success.

1
Revisit your relationship with your buyers frequently. Relationships are what keep your business in forward motion
2
Schedule regular product reviews and training for your distributors. You need to ensure they remain current on product features.
3
Keep an eye on the success of products like yours. Know where you stand in the competitive landscape.
4
Be flexible with your supply chain options. Be prepared to work with your buyers to meet their specific, perhaps changing, needs.
5
Proactively learn the rules, regulations, license needs, product markings, and required documentation for any new markets you may enter.
6
Assess buyers and identify risks before selling to any new markets, and consider a few sample shipments to test the waters before totally jumping in.
Trade Roadmap

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE

Now that you know why, explore more ways to prepare for success in our full guide: The Export Road Map.

Download the PDF
Export checklist

EXPORT CHECKLIST

Use this as a quick reference for everything from building your export plan to weighing your return options.

Get the checklist