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This is part 2 in a series of 12 step-by-step guide to help you succeed in today's global export market.


Are You Ready to Step Onto the World Stage?

Remember that two-thirds of the exporting effort is done from home. Your company’s valuable investment of time, effort, money and expertise will be maximized if you can ensure beforehand that you are ready to enter the global marketplace.

Consider everything: language and cultural issues, the challenges of different monetary systems, legal and tax implications, developing sources of financing, the need for careful research into new market opportunities, and measures to ensure the protection of your intellectual property.

What is "Export Readiness?"

"Export Readiness"

refers to your level of preparedness

to do business in an export market.

The first step in becoming "export ready" is to understand that 2/3 of the export effort takes place at home, before venturing abroad:

1. Shed light on exporting services... by becoming more aware of the international marketplace.

2. Assess your export readiness... by completing the Export Readiness Assessment.

3. Acquire export skills... by ensuring that your entire export team acquires the skills required to operate abroad.

4. Revisit your business plan... by including an international component.

5. Develop the export plan... by identifying the unique aspects of your firm and how it can best position itself for world markets.

6. Research the identifying and selecting the best markets for you to focus on, using specific market information and intelligence.

7. Create a Marketing Plan.

8. Identify sources of export financing and insurance... thereby ensuring you are ready when an opportunity arises for the types of export financing or insurance options discuss later.

For some firms, becoming export-ready can be as simple as reviewing these steps 1 through 8. For others, it may take months to ensure that the export team is prepared, and that the organization has made the necessary adaptations to prepare for globalization.

The "Export Readiness Assessment" tools contained herein for both exporters of services and exporters of goods will provide you with a snapshot of your firm’s status of export readiness. The following sampling is based on three different areas: Resources, Competitiveness and Expectations:


  • Does your firm have sufficient internal capacity to handle extra demand?
  • Does your firm have internally efficient systems to respond to customers quickly?
  • Does your firm have senior and professional staff with excellent marketing skills?
  • Does your firm have senior management support for export objectives?


  • Does your firm have a service (or a service delivery process) that is unique and competitive in the chosen export market?
  • Does your firm have sophisticated market entry methods currently in use?
  • Has your firm conducted market research demonstrating service viability in the targeted export region?


  • Does your firm have clear and achievable export objectives?
  • Does your firm have a realistic idea of what exporting entails?
  • Does your firm have an open-mindedness for new ways of providing its services?
  • Is your firm realistic about what will be necessary to be profitable in the target market?

How to Use the Export Readiness Assessment Tool

Working through the Export Readiness Diagnostic will give you an opportunity to test your export readiness and to identify priorities as you prepare to enter your first foreign market. If you are currently exporting, some of the questions may assist you in fine tuning your export strategy. The following tips may help you to obtain the maximum benefit from using this tool.

  • It will take from 15 -30 minutes to complete the assessment for each target market. Conduct an assessment for each of your target markets or market types since different markets will require you to modify your approach.

  • The questions may be answered in any order and do not have to be answered all at the same time. You may want to save your analysis and return at a later date.

  • Answer candidly on your company’s present situation as opposed to your desired position, in order to ensure the feedback you obtain will help you to identify appropriate action items.

  • Ask your export team to complete the diagnostic before attending strategy meetings. Doing so will lead to more productive sessions and will facilitate the implementation of action items.

  • Share your saved assessment reports with new employees or new partners. It will help them to understand your firm and to determine where they can make the best contribution to your organization.

  • Prior to entering a new market or to introducing a new service offering, revisit your saved reports and conduct "what-if" analyses.

  • Review and update your saved reports once or twice a year. It will help you to continue to work towards enhancing your competitiveness in world markets.

Export Readiness Diagnostic

  • Answering the questions in this diagnostic will give you an opportunity to test your export readiness and identify priorities as you prepare for a foreign market. If you have already started exporting or export development activities, you may learn some tips from the questions that will help improve your profitability.

  • The questions are organized into nine modules. They may be answered in any order and do not have to be answered all at the same time. To receive feedback on your answers, you will first need to select an export market (or market type) since different factors are important depending on the particular type of market chosen.

  • At the end of each set of questions, you will receive feedback on your firm's strengths and challenges in that area. Once all questions have been answered, you can receive a summary report that evaluates your export readiness on the three factors: Resources, Competitiveness, and Expectations.

  • You have the option to change some of your responses or select a different market type and then see how the overall assessment of your export readiness changes. Just save each of your reports with a different file name.

  • Please be candid in answering the questions. This tool is to help you in your export effort, and the assessment will only be useful if it is based on your best evaluation of how your firm is doing at the moment ... not how you would like it to be performing.

Download Exporters of Goods diagnostic

Download Exporters of Services diagnostic

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