This questionnaire for new exporters includes areas to consider when determining your level of export readiness, and provides an initial assessment of your exporting needs and capabilities.
Last Published: 5/15/2018
New Exporter LogoFor New Exporters Looking to Develop International Business

Many businesses could be exporting, but view the process as too burdensome or don’t where to start. This questionnaire includes areas to consider when determining your level of export readiness, and provides an initial assessment of your exporting needs and capabilities. Many of these questions will guide you to our Exporting Basics Video Series on our homepage with more information and resources on exporting. The end of this document points to our series of market destinations videos; export markets that may hold potential for your company.      

  • Does your company have a product or service that has successfully sold in the domestic market? 

A product or service's success in the domestic market is a good indicator of its potential for export success. If your product or service is untried in the domestic marketplace, you could benefit from concentrating on domestic sales first. In the meantime, view The Export Process Overview to see what to expect when your product or service is ready to export.

  • Is your company's management committed to developing export markets and willing and able to dedicate staff, time and resources to the process?

Management commitment is the number one determining factor for export success, and an essential part of any export plan. View The Export Process Overview and My Export Plan.

  • Does your company have or is it preparing an export business plan with defined goals and strategies?

Many companies begin export activities haphazardly, without carefully screening markets or options for market entry. Without an export plan, better export opportunities are often overlooked. Start by formulating a well-thought-out export strategy. View My Export Plan, Research the Global Market Place, and Select Initial Markets.

  • Does your company have sufficient production capacity that can be committed to the export market? Will financing be required for any expansion? 

Can your company meet the increased demand it is creating? More space and equipment might be required to manufacture for the specific countries (which often have their own product standards and regulations) you are selling to. Financing might be needed to include any product modification costs. View Preparing Your Product for Export.

  • Does your company have the financial resources to actively support an increase of product sales in targeted overseas markets?

A big hurdle for many companies is market development, as it requires funds for activities such as international travel, trade missions, trade show participation, market research, and business training. However, federal government export financing programs can assist. View Export Financing and links to the Trade Finance Guide.

  • Do you have both U.S. and foreign Intellectual Property Protection for your product?

U.S. businesses should know that protecting your intellectual property domestically does not extend your protection internationally, so companies should do their research first before exporting. View Protecting Your IP Abroad.

  • Does your company have capabilities to modify ingredients and product packaging to meet foreign import regulations, cultural preferences, and survive competition?

Selecting and preparing your product for export requires both knowledge of the product and the unique characteristics of each target market. However, before the sale can occur, your product(s) may need to be modified to satisfy buyer tastes, or regulatory requirements in foreign countries. View the Plan Your Market Entry Strategy video set.

  • Does your company have appropriate knowledge in shipping its product overseas, such as identifying and selecting international freight forwarders and freight costs to ensure customs clearance overseas?

When shipping a product overseas, be aware of packing, labeling, documentation and insurance requirements. Also, be familiar with methods of shipping, import rules and regulations of foreign countries, and export regulations of the U.S. government. View Shipping Basics and Export Documentation.

  • Does your company have knowledge and experience of export payment methods, such as developing and negotiating letters of credit?

Experienced exporters have extensive knowledge of export payment mechanisms, extend credit cautiously, and monitor older accounts. A U.S. Commercial Service International Company Profile (ICP) provides key information for credit checks. View Methods of Payment and Get Export Counseling which highlights the International Company Profile.

  • Does your company have knowledge and understanding of U.S. export controls and compliance?

Check to see if your product might require an export license, particularly if your product has military or dual military/civilian use. There are several U.S. government agencies that oversee licensing requirements for distinct categories of products. View U.S. Export Regulations.

Market Destination Videos   
The U.S. Commercial Service has launched a series of short videos profiling dynamic market destinations. New to export companies may find markets such as Canada, Mexico, Australia, and the United Kingdom as destinations to begin exporting to. View the landing page for the Market Destination Videos.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting

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