Let's start by looking at general business growth plans. What plans do you have to grow and develop?
We focus on short term growth with little or no time to devote to longer term development.
We plan to grow but dedicating the time to support this is difficult.
We regularly set aside time to proactively develop the business.
Regular and systematic developmental activity drive our ambitious growth plans
We focus is on long term growth.
Is there a track record of growth management?
Little or no experience.
Experience of managing modest growth.
Experience of managing growth up to 10% per annum
Experience of managing growth 10% - 25% per annum
Experience of managing growth over 25% + per annum
How important is innovation and creativity to your company?
Innovation and creativity are not given any priority.
Innovation and creativity are only sought as and when required.
Innovation and creativity is encouraged and has contributed profitable ideas and new ways of working.
Creativity is actively promoted and new ideas are routinely encouraged.
Innovation and new ideas are central to the working environment.
What is the approach to consultation on key decisions?
Input from other people in or outside the business is not available or is not sought.
Others are only consulted if required.
Other people are regularly consulted on key decisions.
There is regular consultation with internal staff or external advisers.
Formal consultation with others is integral to the way the business is managed.
Now let's consider your current view on international trade. How important is international trade to your company now?
We have not yet developed our plans for international trade.
We've started to consider the implications of international trade.
Implications have been considered and there is backing to develop international trade.
Resources are in place and allocated to international trade.
We're trading internationally and it's an important part of our business growth.
What experience is there of international trade within the company?
We've had a reactive approach to overseas enquiries as they've come along
We've built up some experience through some repeat export business
We've access to significant internal or external experience though regular export business
We have an experienced in-house team.
Where does international trade fit in the business strategy?
International trade does not have a clear role within the business strategy.
International trade is an addition to the overall strategy and is not built in
Our plans for international growth generally complement the overall business strategy
The international trade plan fits in well with the well-developed business strategy.
International trade is fully integrated into the overall business strategy.
Have you considered your competitive advantage in export markets?
Not at all.
Some factors have been considered.
We've researched and can demonstrate how our competitive advantage relates to international markets.
We've researched our competitive advantage and know how this will be sustained.
We're confident of our clear, powerful, sustainable competitive advantage in export markets.
Now let's consider a few financial implications. Will the financial position support international trade?
Our financial position is not clear.
Close monitoring is essential due to losses being made or cash flow being restricted.
Cash and financial facilities enable growth. The company is profitable and the position is stable.
Profits are increasing with cash flow and financial facilities supporting growth.
Profits and cash surplus are constantly growing.
How closely are the finances monitored?
No set of accounts less than 12 months old.
Set of annual accounts created within previous 12 months.
Set of annual or management accounts created within 3 months.
Management accounts are up to date and used to view the current financial position.
Sales and cash flow are forecasts are in place and used in conjunction with management accounts.
Are international trade sales and costs forecast?
Not at all.
To a limited degree with no detail.
Detailed export sales and cost projections are created independently.
Detailed export sales and costs are included in the overall budget for the next 12 months.
The international trade plan is integrated with the overall budgeting processes and financial projections.
Have you considered cash flow implications for international trade?
Not at all.
We understand the basics of export payment terms but have not related these to cash flow.
Cash flow implications from export trade have been considered.
We understand the cash flow implications and built them into the overall business forecast.
We have dedicated internal expertise on international trade finance and terms.
Ensuring you have the appropriate skills either in-house or sub-contracted is an important consideration. Have you considered the international trade roles required?
No we don't know what we need.
We understand the functions required but we've not done an internal assessment yet.
We understand the functions and have assessed what is needed.
We know what is needed and have mapped out, training, recruitment and outsourcing required.
We have, or are currently, filling the gaps in training, recruitment or outsourcing.
Do you have the people in place for international trade roles?
No and no tasks have been allocated.
We think we can cover some tasks internally.
Responsibilities have been allocated to start a market entry project.
Personnel and systems are in place to fulfil orders through to despatch and payment.
We have a dedicated senior export manager and all staff and systems are experienced and up to date.
Are there any skills gaps in relation to international trade?
We don't know.
It is under review.
We know where the skills gaps are.
We're currently taking action to fill the international trade skills gaps.
International trade staff have continual personal development plans which are regularly reviewed.
Let’s now look at your ability to fulfil the extra business exporting will bring. Do you have the capacity to fulfil export growth?
We are running over capacity already.
There is some spare capacity.
We have capacity to professionally support growth in one export market.
Capacity can be found to support more than one export market.
There is an active programme to increase capacity in line with the businesses growth plans.
Can the supply chain support your growth?
We have regular lead time and quality issues with the supply chain.
We have occasional lead time and quality issues with the supply chain.
The supply chain serves current production and sales requirements in quality and lead times.
Customer service is met through proactive supply chain management.
We exceed our customer requirements by constantly improving supply chain issues.
Can the product be sold internationally at a competitive price?
We have not made any price comparisons.
Our research shows international markets will require a lower cost base.
Our research shows that our cost base is competitive.
We can confidently differentiate our product to command a price premium in international markets.
Products and services are unique and will command a significant price premium.
Will systems and ICT support export operations?
Our ICT needs an upgrade.
Some recent investment in ICT.
Most aspects of ICT are regularly upgraded.
All aspects of ICT including training are regularly and systematically upgraded.
ICT and training in its use are continuously upgraded.
We will now look at your experience in identifying and entering new export markets. Is there up to date experience of developing export business?
No new export markets have been entered in the last 3 years.
No new export markets have been entered in the last 18 months.
We have entered and generated export sales in a new market within the last 12 months.
At least 10% of sales come from export markets entered less than 2 years ago.
At least 25% of sales come from export markets entered less than 2 years ago.
How do you plan on proactively identifying new export markets?
We will need help to identify, prioritise and target overseas markets.
Export market research and selection is done on an informal basis.
We have a system in place for selecting export markets.
We have carried out formal research (internal or outsourced) or visited the market.
We use experienced internal or outsourced export market research to proactively select markets.
Is there an understanding how to identify routes to market?
We do not know what the options are.
We know what the options are but have not yet decided on the most appropriate option.
We have objectively selected the most appropriate route to market for each selected country.
We have experience of working with different routes to market as required by the target market.
The full range of methods and routes is understood and used regularly.
What is your approach to pricing for export markets?
It is informal and subjective.
When possible we take account of some local market factors.
We have an export market pricing system that takes account of local market factors.
We use detailed thorough local market knowledge to create a pricing plan for each export market.
We regularly review our market specific pricing plan and adapt where strategically necessary.
Sales and Marketing
This section will ask you to think promoting an appropriate message to your target markets. Is there a well developed overall sales and marketing plan?
There is no written sales and marketing plan.
We have a plan but it is not formalised.
Our written plan includes strategy, objectives and actions.
Our written plan includes strategy, objectives and actions and is based on objective market analysis.
Our sales and marketing plan is regularly updated to take account of the latest internal and external factors.
Do you know why you win, keep or lose customers?
We have not assessed customer retention.
We have done basic analysis of customer requirements in relation to the benefits of our product and service.
We have carried out detailed analysis in the last 12 months.
There is a system in place for customer reviews.
Customer reviews are carried out continually and systematically.
What do you know about your sales channel satisfaction?
Most contact is initiated by customers/sales channel partners.
Contact is occasional including some information on satisfaction levels.
We carry out annual customer / sales channel partner assessments which include satisfaction surveys.
We carry out customer / sales channel partner assessments which include satisfaction surveys more than once per year.
Satisfaction is continuously and systematically monitored.
Can a promotional programme be produced that is suitable for the culture and language of target export markets?
We have no experience of this.
We have some limited experience but further help will be required.
We have some experience.
We are experienced in this activity.
We have implemented numerous promotional programmes across our export markets.
Products and Services
We will examine whether you have considered issues around legislation and regulations governing your product. Do you understand the standards required in overseas markets?
We do not know which standards or certificates are required.
The standards or certifications are known but not yet in place.
The standards or certifications are in place.
The current requirements are in place. The changes needed to meet future requirements are known.
The current requirements are in place. The changes needed to meet future requirements are known and are being implemented.
Can product and service support be provided overseas?
We have not looked into this issue yet.
We're starting to understand the overseas support required.
We fully understand the overseas support required.
We have some experience in supporting overseas markets.
We are very experienced in supporting overseas markets.
Have language considerations been assessed?
We have not considered the language implications.
We have some basic language skills but not enough to develop the international business.
We have enough language skills to support ongoing business.
Our language and culture capability are important to our customer service and help in business development.
Language and cultural issues are advanced and integral to the business operations, sales, service, documentation and systems.
Is IPR for products and services in place?
There is little or no formal protection of IPR.
IPR protection is informal.
We have an inventory of IPR and are taking steps to formally protect IPR.
The IPR inventory is systematically maintained and formal protection put in place wherever appropriate.
There are established resources and processes for constantly reviewing and updating IPR and its protection.