How to know if your business is export ready

Canada has one of the most diverse populations in the world. With a diverse population, comes products and services that cater to our multicultural nation. But without the phenomena of international trade and exports, we would not have such amenities.

Canada Without Trade?

The power of trade is what drives Canada’s prosperous economy. International trade embodies more than 60% of Canada’s GDP and one in five jobs is linked to exports. Without international trade, there would be 3.3 million fewer jobs and the rate of unemployment would shoot to more than 25%.

To further grow our economy, Canadian entrepreneurs need to be educated on exporting. The government provides plenty of free resources to understand this subject and navigate its complexities.

Enter COEF (Canada-Ontario Export Forum)

The Canada-Ontario Export Forum, is Ontario’s regional trade network, which provides steps and resources to allow businesses to understand the exporting process.

Recently, Greg Coelho, Senior Export Advisor, presented the LEAP (Launch your Export Action Plan) Workshop hosted at the Altitude Accelerator in partnership with Haltech and Innovation Factory.

The goal of the workshop was to help entrepreneurs evaluate if their companies are export ready and to identify resources available through the COEF. During the workshop, Coelho provides the International Business Readiness Assessment. A personalized assessment which helps you evaluate your export strengths and weaknesses.

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How to become export ready?

Coelho explains that the benefits of exporting your business calls for increased competitiveness, increased sales and higher profits, which leads to economies of scale, and market diversification.

But being export ready means being committed, being able to recognize resources needed, and understanding the environment.


 To export your product or service, you require commitment in time, money and effort.

  • Commitment to research, strategy, market development and being able to convince senior management to commit
  • Ongoing allocation of resources; labour, product and market development
  • Educating yourself in new ways to deliver high quality products and services to foreign customers


Understanding the resources you have available within your company and resources you need to assist in exporting your business.

  • Evaluating your capacity, assess if your company will be able to meet demands of target markets customers
  • Considering capabilities such as, human resources, service sustainability, and certifications
  • Weighing in financing & risk management


Examining your industry, market and the support that is available. This is fundamental to developing an international market strategy.

  • Industry associations, international market trends, government supports
  • Leverage existing customers, transportation and logistics, international trade shows


Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting

Coelho also provides the entrepreneurs with a key resource from the government of Canada that allows them to follow a step-by-step guide on how to export their business. The guide is available for free through the The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service. It is a tool for entrepreneurs who are in the process or are interested in exporting their business.

Summary of the guide:

Step 1: Getting started: assessing your export potential

  • Examine the basics of exporting. Evaluate readiness with 15 questions

Step 2: Globalization: linking to global value chains

  • Connect to the world’s top suppliers.

Step 3: Charting your route: developing your export plan

  • Determine how to draft and maintain an evergreen plan

Step 4: Setting out: identifying your target market

  • Selecting a target market can make or break success. Become effective in targeting the right market.

Next Step

After completing this workshop, entrepreneurs have the tools to evaluate if their companies are export ready and recognize available resources through COEF. There are also multiple government resources that can take companies along this process.

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