How to plan for exporting


  1. Contact UK Trade and Investment to access the extensive range of advice and support they can offer.
  2. Identify other sources of information (eg contacts already exporting to the market); consider visiting the country yourself.
  3. Decide how much you will invest in researching and developing the new market; consider whether existing markets offer better opportunities.
  4. Research the market: for example, customer requirements, competition and pricing levels; use British Embassy or High Commission guidance.
  5. Consider how you will reach customers and promote your product.
  6. Investigate local laws and regulations: for example, tariffs, product standards, product liability laws and labelling regulations.
  7. Plan how you will handle delivery, packaging and transportation: investigate costs, timescales and documentation requirements.
  8. Explore financing options and consider payment procedures; how will you assess creditworthiness and cope with fluctuating exchange rates?
  9. Consider what after-sales support you need to provide, such as spare parts, customer advice or training.
  10. Assess what personnel resources you need to support your exports; identify any training requirements.
  11. Choose the best sales channel: for example, selling directly (eg via the internet) or to a distributor, using an agent or working with a partner.
  12. Ensure that you have clear terms of trade, and procedures to handle export documentation.
  13. Plan an export trial to test the market and your procedures without excessive investment.
  14. Set up monitoring mechanisms; monitor the local business environment and exchange rates, as well as your export performance.

Cardinal rules


  1. take advantage of government support and information
  2. thoroughly research the market and potential problems
  3. choose the best sales channel
  4. agree clear terms of trade
  5. ensure that you understand financing and payment procedures


  1. assume local customer requirements will be the same as in the UK
  2. ignore the extra costs involved in exporting
  3. underestimate the importance of good procedures and documentation