STEP 1.2

Self assessment
Introduction to Exporting from Canada

Before you get into the onerous preparation needed to make your firm export ready, it’s essential to know whether or not your firm has the resource and the financial health to sell internationally. These aren’t simple yes or no questions, but finding answers before you start down this path is critical.

Ask yourself the following questions before you get started:


  • Are your products or services successful in Canada?
  • Do you have a solid domestic business plan?

As part of’s Export Insights 2018 report, Canadian businesses were asked why the began selling internationally. These were the most popular answers. Study conducted by RK Insights

Human Resources

  • Do you have a management team capable of creating an export strategy?
  • Does your management team have the time to pursue exporting, and are they committed to a sustained effort to generate lasting success?
  • Does your management team have exporting experience?
  • Do you have the personnel to meet the demands of exporting?
  • Is your staff equipped to deal with language barriers?
  • Do you have sales and marketing staff with international experience? If not, can you hire individuals who do?
  • Are you prepared to deal with differences in labour standards?


  • Do you have the finances to support overseas marketing?
  • Do you have a dependable cash flow?
  • Can you deal with defaulted payments, distribution issues or any kind of disruption to business?
  • Do you have the ability to access financing if you need it?
  • Can your business handle not making a significant profit in a new market for the first two years?
  • Can your business handle exchange rate fluctuations?


  • Do you have the capacity to serve both your existing domestic customers and your future international clients, even if demand increases in one or both areas?
  • If you sell a product, do you have the raw materials and components needed to meet international demand?
  • Do you have enough production capacity?
  • Can you modify your offerings to meet cultural, regulatory or certification standards of the market you want to break into?
  • Can you modify your marketing strategy?


  • Does your firm have specific advantages over the competition?
  • Is what you sell unique and competitively priced?
  • Will your products or services sell in the market you’re interested in?
  • What is the long-term potential of your offerings in the market? (Every product or service has a natural lifecycle)
  • Can you sell your product or service in the market you’re interested in without infringing on intellectual property rights?

The following video is from the U.S.-based International Trade Administration, but it provides some useful tips for prospective exporters on how to prepare their businesses for international expansion:

To sell your product in international markets successfully and beat out both foreign and domestic competitors, you will need a unique selling proposition:

Sources: EDC, B.C. Government


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