You’ve spoken to your banker, perhaps taken a course on export basics and ticked off all the boxes highlighting that you’re ready to take your business to the next level. It’s time to build an export plan.

An export plan is a document that helps you assess the potential benefits and risks to your business when selling internationally. It clearly defines the market you’ll target, your specific sales goals and the overall approach you’ll take to achieve those goals.

The document doesn’t need to be long—a few pages are sufficient—but the information it captures is extremely important. Not only will it guide the efforts of your entire team, it’ll also clearly communicate your plan to people outside the company who you may turn to for help along the way.

For example, if you’re hoping to get financing from your bank or apply to one of Canada’s many government programs for exporters, a good export plan is a must. It gives you credibility, shows you’ve done your research and demonstrates your commitment and due diligence.