Making an export plan

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Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

You are a producer of work trousers who wants to start exporting them to Belgium. Or you have just come across a cheap batch of key chains online and want to sell them abroad: it all begins with an export plan.

Why make an export plan?

Looking to start exporting goods? An export plan will help you establish all the facts. As you make the plan, you will answer questions like: why do I want to export goods? How will I ship and insure the goods? Who are my competitors? In the end, you will have a developed plan with which you can get started.

How do you make an export plan?

KVK has created a handy template for anyone to use. Download the export plan (in Dutch) and complete all the sections.

Export step-by-step plan

Entering a foreign market requires a lot of preparation. You can use the Step-by-step export plan on The 14 steps provide detailed insight into the overall export process. Click on the links for more information on each of the steps.

Research your export country of choice

Make sure to thoroughly investigate your export country of choice. Ask local sector organisations for market and industry reports and read foreign trade magazines. Sector organisations often have lots of information about local purchasing power. It is important to remember that there are big cultural differences in international business and product perception.

Market research: DIY or leave it to the experts?

There are various ways to do market research. You can outsource it to a market research company or do it yourself. Make sure that the person doing your market research lives in the country in question. Partner up with a marketing professional who speaks the language, has in-depth knowledge of the market industry, and who comes highly recommended.

How do you pick an export country?

First, make a shortlist of different countries and/or regions. Start by comparing important macro-economic factors. Look both at the current situation and forecasts for the future. Other aspects to consider include competition, buyers and suppliers, trade restrictions, import duties, and more.

Explore the country

Regardless of who does your market research, always investigate your country and market of choice yourself. Get to know your competitors and analyse how they market their products. Contact local buyers and delve into local business customs. Visiting a trade show abroad can be a great source of information. This is also a good way to grow your network. Find international industry information (in Dutch) on the RVO website.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK