How to start exporting

Create an export plan

How to create an export plan

Looking to export from Scotland? Before you get started, you’ll need an export plan. It will help make sure you’ve thought everything through, and it can be a useful tool to show banks, partners and investors that you’re serious.

We've created an export plan template to help you get started. Using this template will ensure you're answering all the right questions and establishing your own abilities to export, before you create a formal plan to share with stakeholders or investors.

The detailed guidance on this page matches the different export plan details in the template.

Download the Scottish Enterprise Export Plan Template (Word, 40.8kB)

What to include in your export plan

Clear objectives

Your export plan introduction should clearly and concisely:

  • Set out your decision and reasons for moving into export markets
  • Outline your strategic export objectives for your business
  • Explain how exporting to international markets fits with your overall business plan

Assess your company's capability

  • Which products/services do you intend to export?
  • Do these products or services require any modification for your target markets?
  • What export capability do you need to have in place – staff, resources and capacity?
  • Which protection do you need to have in place – IP, insurance, terms and conditions for export markets?
  • What is your export market proposition?

Read our guide on getting your business ready to export 

Target markets

  • Which markets do you intend to target and why?
  • What are your priority target markets – country/market sector/customer profile?

Read our guide on finding the right market

Market research

  • What export market research information do you require?
  • How will you conduct this research – criteria, cost and timescales?
  • How will you use this research in your export planning and development?

Get free market research reports

Marketing and sales

  • What are your marketing and sales targets for each selected market?
  • What routes to market do you intend to use?
  • If you intend to use in-market partners, how will you select, appoint and manage them?
  • What marketing material/preparation do you need, including your website and social media?
  • Do you intend to visit the market or exhibitions or trade shows in-market?

Read our marketing and sales checklist

Export operations

  • How will you fulfil and deliver your export orders?
  • What export documentation/certification do you require in place?
  • What insurance have you in place?

Read our guide to exporting logistics

Read our guide to finding routes to international markets

Export budget and pricing

  • Set out the budget and costs required for each of the above areas
  • Your export pricing strategy
  • Your terms of payment and anticipated export cash flow
  • Any external export finance required

Read our guide to getting your pricing right and help with your export budget

Risk analysis

  • What are the key risks associated with exporting and how will you manage these?

Find out more about risk management

Management and monitoring

  • How and who will be responsible for managing your export development?
  • At what points over the year will you review progress against the plan (monthly/quarterly)?

How to lead a successful international team

Forward planning

  • What are your long-term objectives for your export development?
  • Decide on your next steps for each export market in year two

Contact us

Want to speak to someone about getting started with exporting? We're here to help.