Tuesday, June 07, 2011

SBA's Free Online Tool Helps Small Businesses Develop an Export Business Plan

Small businesses interested in starting or expanding sales of their goods and services overseas now have access to a new, free online tool that will gauge their readiness to export and help them develop an export business plan.

The Export Business Planner, developed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, offers a ready-made, customizable and easily accessible document that can be updated and referenced continuously as the business grows.

The Planner, located at www.sba.gov/exportbusinessplanner, allows users to:
* Determine their export readiness;
* Learn about training and counseling opportunities;
* Complete worksheets for global market research;
* Obtain financing information and options;
* Customize export marketing plans, and;
* Access resources for exporters

"Creating jobs through exporting is one of the nation’s top economic priorities, as the President indicated when he launched the National Export Initiative," said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills [pictured]. "Giving exporters the tools to do their part in this effort is essential. The new Export Business Planner is one such tool and will serve businesses in the critical process of planning for their success."

The Planner is a PDF file that can be easily downloaded, accessed, customized and updated every time you use it. It features an extensive compilation of export research and information -- including quick links to websites, video profiles, training podcasts, trade statistics, contact information to counseling resources such as SCORE and SBDCs, a list of current SBA lenders, plus much more.

The tool is organized in comprehensive chapters that are cross-linked and indexed for efficiency and easy access to related topics.

The chapters include:
* Introduction to Exporting
* Training and Counseling
* Getting Started: Creating an Export Business Plan
* Developing your Marketing plan
* Financing your Export Venture
* Accounting Worksheets: Costing, Financial Forecasting and Product Pricing
* Utilizing Technology for Successful Exporting
* Your New Marketing Plan: Summary, Timeline
* Updates, Transportation and Documentation

A distinct and very useful feature of the Planner is the customizable worksheets. These documents provide templates for developing your export business plan; conducting business assessments and foreign market research; creating your marketing plan; costing and sale projections; goal-setting; and much more.

Additional SBA Programs Available
For more information about all of the SBA’s programs for small businesses, call the SBA Answer Desk at 1-800 U ASK SBA; or, TDD 704-344-6640. Or, visit the SBA’s website at http://www.sba.gov.

SOURCES: U.S. Small Business Administration, The White House

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