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Example of an International Business Plan

written by: Ivy N. McQuain MBA•edited by: Ginny Edwards•updated: 7/20/2010

Your business is booming and now you are ready to expand into international areas. Your basic business plan works fine but you need to understand how to create an international business plan for your new markets.

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    International Business Plan Example Your ambition has led you to start your own business and now it is moving you to expand your business to an international level. You know your company is going to instantly become a success but you are unsure of how to present your company to an international investor or even how to effectively market to customers in other countries. You may have a basic business plan which enabled you to gain start-up capital and other immediate and initial necessities, but now you are at a point where you can rightfully look into expanding into other areas including the international fronts.

    There are many components to a standard business plan that you should have carefully crafted to your particular industry and targeted customer base. This article with an international business plan example will give you insight to writing an international business plan based on the criteria of a simple business plan. The formatting will assist you with establishing the sections of an international business plan and direct you on how to include the needs of positioning your company in another country.

    I. COMPANY (BUSINESS) PROFILE - This profile is essentially a detailed overview of your company. It should address the who, what, where, why, and how of your company so that potential investors are able to gain insight.

    A. BUSINESS DESCRIPTION – You want to state the mission and vision of your company; detail the business model, which tells why you are not like your competitors; outline your short- and long-term objective strategies; discuss current strategic relationships which will prove beneficial in your overall company success; and outline your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (also known as a SWOT Analysis).

    B. PRODUCT OR SERVICE DESCRIPTION - When you give a description of your company you want to describe what product or service you are offering to customers. If you are producing a product then you want to detail your method of manufacturing or distributing. Your goal in this section is to be as detailed as possible regarding what your company is offering to the market and customers.

    C. LOCATION AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DESCRIPTION – This section is important to an international business plan because it details the projected location of the company or warehouses; details the copyrights, trademarks and patents and other important documents needed to prove ownership.

    D. LEGAL STRUCTURE AGREEMENT – In this section you want to describe what your company is legally registered as. For instance if you are a warehouse distributor you cannot enter into a market selling services only. You should, if applicable, include resumes of key personnel and detail their strengths in this section. How you secure and insure your business internationally should be included in this section.

    E. MANAGEMENT AND PERSONNEL – Investors want to know who is running the company and if they are capable of effectively running it. This section lists the people who are or will be operating the company internationally. A resume is usually a supporting document. Since you are entering international areas you want to address who you want working for your company, their projected salaries, and any future needs for your company, given growth projections. You can also include your external consultants such as accountants and lawyers.

    NOTE: Developing a business plan for an international company requires more research than in your current country. You need to do your best to know the country in which you desire to enter into. The wording of your business plan must be specific to the country of entrance to avoid confusion and delay in investor participation.

    Image Credit: Salvatore Vuono /

    Continue to page 2 to view more sections included in the international business plan example.

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    When your company is ready to charter into international territory you must understand then importance of a strong marketing strategy and financial background to prove to investors and customers that your company is worth the investment. This article will help you understand how to properly position the marketing and financial sections of your international business plan.
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    II. MARKETING OVERVIEW – Marketing your company is one of the single most important aspects of a company and internationally it will prove to be even more significant. Your marketing overview should address how you plan to inform your target market about your company’s offerings.

    A. MARKET ANALYSIS – In this section you should explain who are in your target markets; your competition; trends in your targeted market; and any conducted market research. The primary goal of this section is to allow you to understand, as you research, who you are in competition against and if you have a strong enough company to compete with.

    B. MARKETING STRATEGY – How do you plan on informing customers that you are open for business? This is the primary function of this section. As you explain each product or service your company offers customers you will need to give a brief description; how you plan on selling or distribution it; packaging needs, if applicable and branding; your sales and advertising strategy; and any media communications you will perform. You can also include your approach to customer service in this section.

    C. IMPLEMENTATION AND ASSESSMENT OF MARKETING STRATEGY – While not pressing to write an effective business plan you should include this section so that you are capable of informing investors how you plan to implement and monitor your marketing strategy. This enables investors and yourself to make corrections and changes if needed.

    NOTE: When preparing your company to move internationally you need to know how effective your marketing overview will be. Common research methods such as Internet use and other minimalistic approaches will not give you a full understanding of the actual area you are seeking to enter into. The effective implementation of your marketing strategy is dependent on facts and accurate forecasting data.

    III. FINANCIAL OVERVIEW – This section informs your investors, if you are seeking funding, of what capital you currently possess and will have. You cannot accurately forecast your profits and expenses until you have developed your marketing strategy and costs associated with being an international company. You will include several documents or sheets to show that you are worthy of the risk which include a balance sheet, your credit reports, financed agreements and contracts, financial statement analysis, income statements and other pertinent financial documents.

    A. CURRENT AND PROJECTED BUDGET – Regardless if you are seeking funding or not you need to have a current and projected budget sheet detailing how you are handling your current finances.

    B. PROJECTED INCOME SHEET – This sheet is based on the projected sales and revenue of your product or service. This sheet is subject to change and depends on the market.

    C. FINANCIAL HISTORY – You should include this information in your business to show what you have earned from the start of your business to its current state.

    NOTE: If you are unsure how to effectively complete your FINANCIAL OVERVIEW section then you should consult an international accountant. You want to include the currency exchange rate in your FINANCIAL OVERVIEW in order to determine if you will earn a profit, break-even or lose money from being in an international environment.

    Continue to page 3 to view the last sections included in the international business plan example.

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    Understanding the international trade section of an international business plan is not difficult. You have to ensure you do the proper research needed to accurately enter your target international market. This article will pinpoint areas you should focus on when you look into international trade.
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    IV. INTERNATIONAL TRADE - This section is dedicated to understanding the needs of an international market. You must perform due diligence when you are seeking to enter into an international market. In this section you want to address any export/import requirements and counseling; your company’s readiness to export/import products or services; any agreements with distributors; an evaluation of the risks associated with international set-up or trade.

    NOTE: You must describe your plan to enter and capitalize internationally. This section is applicable to each international market you are seeking to enter.

    V. OTHER – The primary function for this section is to include any supporting documents you may need for your business plan’s validity. You can inquire with the different international trade offices to determine its specific document needs.

    When you put together your business plan you want to have it reviewed by an attorney with international business law skills so that you are including the correct terminology and following all applicable country and international laws. You also may want to include a cover sheet which gives pertinent contact information for your company; an executive summary which is an overview of the business plan and should not be composed until you are finished with the business plan; and a table of content to provide for an easy read.

    Now that you understand how to effectively write an international business plan you must remember to first perform the task of due diligence and research your targeted international market. There are many rules which apply to every country and you must ensure that you are above reproach when you seek to enter into these markets. Not every country operates on the basic business principles therefore you need to understand the risks involved. Consult all manners of professionals who are well versed in international business, finance and law to avoid losses. International business opportunities are available and now you know how to write the plan to take part of what is available.

    Here is an example of an internationally position business plan which is retrieved from Included is an outline to assist you with composing your international business plan:

    International Travel Agency Business Plan Outline

    • 1.0 Executive Summary

    o Objectives

    o Mission

    o Keys to Success

    • 2.0 Company Summary

    • 3.0 Services

    • 4.0 Market Analysis Summary

    • 5.0 Strategy and Implementation Summary

    • 6.0 Management Summary

    • 7.0 Financial Plan

    • Appendix

    You can read more about this international business plan example at: