Should You Export?

An Expert's View about Economic Development in the United States

Last updated: 4 Feb 2013

Making the decision to export requires careful assessment of the advantages and disadvantages international market entry.  Once the decision has been made to export, developing an export business plan and an international marketing plan are essential.

Some of the benefits of exporting are:

    Enhance domestic competitiveness
    Increase sales and profits
    Gain global market share
    Reduce dependence on existing markets
    Extend sales potential of existing products
    Stabilize seasonal market fluctuations
    Enhance potential for corporate expansion
    Sell excess production capacity and inventory
    Gain information about foreign competition

In making an informed, balanced decision to export, it's important to note that there are certain trade-offs that can be expected.  Some of the disadvantages may justify a decision to either put off exporting or to start very small. However, with every obstacle there is opportunity. Perhaps you cannot afford to establish an over-seas sales office, but you could use the services of an intermediary (a trade broker or a sales agent).

Trade-offs include:

    Use short-term profits to achieve long-term gains
    Hire staff to launch export expansion
    Modify product or packaging
    Develop new promotional material
    Incur added administrative costs
    Wait longer for payment
    Apply for additional financing
    Dedicate personnel for traveling or train personnel to understand global efforts
    Obtain licenses

All in all, your company will need to make an informed decision if the time is right to go global.  It will take commitment from the top down.  Management commitment is especially key, as if the managers have not made exporting a priority, neither will the front-line personnel.  However, most of the challenges can be overcome with the right planning and guidance.

Copyright 2009-2012 Import Export Institute, Dana Smith

Posted: 21 September 2012, last updated 4 February 2013

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Expert Views    
Should You Export?   By Import Export Institute