Exporting - an overview

Ten key steps to successful exporting

  1. Research your market - does your prospective foreign customer need what you are selling at the price that will yield you a profit? What is the competition and how will they react?
  2. Implement an export strategy and review your capabilities - ask yourself: what would my business gain from exporting?
  3. Construct an export plan - define how you will enter the foreign market. Finalise human resources and marketing strategy and allocate an adequate budget to cover export start-up costs.
  4. Choose your sales presence - establish whether you need a direct sales operation. Or is an agent or distributor more effective? How will you manage your overseas sales presence?
  5. Promote your product - how are you going to market and sell your product? Customise marketing to the target country.
  6. Get the Customs side right - contact HM Revenue & Customs and the UK embassy of your destination country to clarify requirements. Make sure your reporting practices are watertight.
  7. Get paid on time - ensure your cashflow will remain at a safe level. Guarantee sufficient credit for your future sales. Take out insurance cover if necessary.
  8. Choose your distribution methods - consider the implications of selling over long distances and across national frontiers.
  9. Transport goods effectively - assess and choose the most effective transport method and make sure the goods are insured by you or the importer.
  10. After-sales policy - regularly liaise with customers, export agents and banks. Monitor political unrest or other adverse conditions in the country of destination. Manage regular servicing and warranty claims.

Use our interactive tool to identify what you need to know to export to your target country.

Subjects covered in this guide

UK Trade & Investment Enquiry Line

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Department for International Trade