Some science behind the success of export ventures


Setting up an export business by itself can be a fulltime job. We reviewed some trusted studies in the field of succes factors in export management, just to help you get started.


Management commitment

The way management sees a new export venture is critical to your succes. Commitment and favourable, supportive attitudes of top management have strong positive effects on export performance, measured in for instance sales and profits.

Exporters with high quality, internationally oriented management are more likely to have a successful export business.

Management commitment, perceptions and attitudes towards export problems and export incentives are good predictors of export success. When management perceives export advantages, this usually translates into favourable predictions of export sales, profits and growth.

When management focus is on barriers, this result in either low export sales, slow export growth, and low perceived export success, or no significant relation was found with predictors of export performance.

This means that it is important for management to focus on the advantages rather than barriers of exporting.


Plan, plan, plan…

A good export organization pays off to firms in terms of sales, profits and satisfaction with the export venture.

Good export planning with a defined strategy is a consistent determinant of export sales and predictor of export profits and export growth. The type of exporting strategy per se does not necessarily affect export performance.

Multiple strategic approaches may be successful if they fit the particular circumstances of export operations. Deliberate planning and organising generate improved performance.

A company’s utilisation of international marketing research positively affects export sales, growth and other measures of export performance. Especially interactive research and promotion methods that including market visits yield positive results.


Size; does it matter?

Studies that compared firms of different sizes reported few conclusive findings. Studies measuring companies by total firm sales see positive effects in export performance. Other studies measuring the number of employees see some negative effects on export performance. Firm capabilities, size and financial resources have positive effects on export performance, which would suggest that larger companies benefit from having access to financial means, manpower, marketing power and production advantages.

However, what really matters is not how long the firm has been in existence, nor how big or small it is, but how successful it has been in acquiring key advantage-generating resources and capabilities.

Have you included these in your plan yet?



Test where you stand

Curious to see how you prepared your export venture is, based on more scientific research? Test where you stand: free test and make sure your plan is pitch-perfect!






Do you have other ideas that you have put in place to define your target market?
We want to know! Please drop an email so we can improve these and other checklists to support other businesses better!



This is a co-production with Orange Tulip Singapore
Nienke Gelderloos MSc


  • Kilantaridis et al; Internationalisation and the Size of the Firm; 2000
  • Moghaddam et al; The Influence of Export Marketing Strategy Determinants on Firm Export Performance: A Review of Empirical Literatures Between 1993-2010
  • International Journal of Fundamental Psychology and Social Services; 2011
  • Sudarevic et al; Internal and External Export Barriers: Analysis from Serbian SME’s Point of View; Industrija; 2014
  • Wheeler et al; UK Export Performance Research: Review and Implications; 2008
  • Zou et al; The Determinants of Export Performance: a Review of the Empirical Literature Between 1987 and 1997; 1998