This 6-month program is designed to support students to develop thriving export enterprises. The program supports students to accomplish three things: (a) Explore and understand foreign markets with a focus on the preferences of foreign consumers and the expectations of foreign buyers. (b) Learn how to develop and improve products to meet those expectations. (c) Package, ship and ACTUALLY sell those products in the indicated foreign markets for a profit. The program is designed to assist students practically through the entire process on the way to earning a Certificate in Export Development.
The course is designed around three core modules: product development, enterprise development, and market entry. Students start from the product development effort to advance to the development of their enterprises and then focus on the mechanics of market entry. The program utilizes a Six Sigma approach to discipline the product development process.
Students are expected to imbibe a disciplined and structured approach to the development of their products and the growth of their enterprises. This discipline is intended to reflect not only in their products (or services) but in the operations that underpin those offerings.
The modules and courses that constitute the program are detailed below:
PART I: PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT MODULES
Introduction To The Export Effort
- This course is designed to get the participants familiar with how the export process works. From the basic of the regulatory process to warehousing and marketing, it attempts to paint a realistic picture of what to expect and how to begin positioning themselves for success. It gives a broad overview and enables people decide on whether they want to pursue the export market or not. Specific examples and practical issues relating to export development shall be addressed. Participants are expected to bring products for evaluation as part of this training class.
Introduction To Product Development
- There is a “structured” approach to the “creative” undertaking of product development. In this module, we introduce the basics of product development, and we guide participants to an appreciation of the essential attributes of products that are “Critical To Quality” (CTQ’s) and ways of affirmatively documenting them as a basis for developing their products.
Who Is Your Customer?
- Quality is fundamental to every customer's perception of, and response to a product offering. Customers make very complex and often rapid decisions based on their evaluation of the value of a product. The "value" of a product reflects a complex relationship between the price and the product function & “quality”.
- In this module, we use the Six Sigma methodology (which has been deployed by thousands of the world's best firms) to improve quality and reduce cost. This module is aimed at developing working concepts of quality, how to quantitatively measure quality, and how to improve quality and productivity in any kind of process or operation. At the end of this, participants will have a tenacious grip on the difference between " a fact" and "an opinion" and will have learned how to elicit - and decipher - both.
Listening To The Voice of the Customer
- Phase I : Define: The Six Sigma methodology is a five step process which has been wildly successful in all spheres of business and commerce. Defining a problem correctly is key to developing a critical approach to problem solving and process improvement. This event shall present the techniques for problem definition, and explore the impact of culture, opinions, rumors, innuendo, “politics”, and all the other social influences that retard effective problem definition.
- Phase II : Measure: This module will introduce the simplest of statistical methods for gathering data so as to realize the power of this ‘fact-based, data-driven methodology’. The key is learning how to ‘hear the Voice of the Customer’.
- Phase III : Analyze: This phase focuses on how to convert ‘data’ (from the Measure phase) into ‘information’. Some practical numerical techniques will be introduced into the experience to ensure that participants are able to objectively measure and analyze the operating state of their business processes and performance.
Responding To The Voice of the Customer
- Phase IV: Improve: This module will train the attendees on how to ‘change’ their organizations or operations, given the information obtained from the Analyze phase. In this exercise, the group actually works on their products with a view to identifying areas for improvement and key consumer groups to target in the future.
Staying Tuned To The Voice of the Customer
- Phase V: Control: This final phase will introduce the tools for institutionalizing the changes and maintaining the gains realized in the Improve phase of the effort.
Six Sigma For Small Business Leaders
- This module introduces participants to the overall Six Sigma methodology. This targets towards managers and business owners who may not have direct product design or process development responsibilities, but retain control of budgeting and leadership of the overall organization. This course is comparable to ‘Six Sigma Champion’s Training’ and is intended to prepare leaders to support the transformational process engendered by Six Sigma.
PART II: ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT MODULES
Growing Your Business – One Dollar At A Time!
- This is a module on financial management. Students will be introduced to the very basic concepts and methods necessary to achieve financial literacy. They should be able to present the very basic metrics of their businesses, and appreciate what those metrics mean.
Capital Formation For Small Businesses
- This module shall discuss money - how to raise money for capital investment, sources of loans and practical assistance with the application process, grant sources to support enterprise development, and similar sources of capital formation.
- Also the module shall present export financing services from other institutions (where appropriate) to complement available products and services. This module highlights loans and grants for domestic as well as export-oriented businesses. This sets up the next module which is focused on writing business plans.
I Hate Business Plans!
- The objective of this session is to demystify the strategy development, business planning and documentation process associated with capital formation. More than the business plan per se, it is a chance for participants to work on the strategy for their businesses.
- Participants spend most of the time writing their business plans. The intent is not that they necessarily write their own business plans in its entirety but that they gain an appreciation for what is involved, and by so doing, become active participants in outlining and documenting the operating state of their business.
PART III: MARKET ENTRY
Finding Buyers For Your Products
- In this module we will delve into the market entry process. We shall introduce resources that are available for identifying and engaging different types of buyers, explore the dialogue with potential buyers, and help participants clarify their market segments and potential targets.
- We shall also outline value-added services to buyers, discuss payment and financial transactions with buyers, and develop market entry plans for participants.
E-Commerce: Why You MUST Care
- This module will teach attendees how online marketing works. We shall take real examples (from attendees) and develop marketing campaigns. The idea is to help people understand what needs to happen ‘on the other end’ to sell their products.
- The effort shall also cover the critical and practical issues around e-commerce - how it works, how people buy things online, how it is comparable to and different from a brick-and-mortar shop, and how to track customer behavior online to improve sales.
Personal Selling & Participating In Trade Shows
- This module shall outline available trade shows, role-play scenarios that impact trade show outcomes, and explore various avenues for personal selling. It shall also explore difficulties businesses have in attending trade shows and seek ways of mitigating those. Video recorded sessions shall be used to help participants improve their personal selling techniques. This is largely a group endeavor aimed at ensuring that participants have the tools and confidence to sell their products effectively.
Alternative Market Entry Techniques
- In recent times, new options have opened up for small businesses that reduce cost and improve efficiency. New services such as order fulfillment services and full supply chain groupage can significantly reduce costs for businesses. These new techniques shall be explored in this module.
Pricing & Pricing Negotiation
- The purpose of this module is simple: pricing. Often times businesses do not have a clear sense of their costs and therefore pricing is often arbitrary. Furthermore, many businesses believe (erroneously) that foreign markets are always more profitable than domestic markets. Participants shall be assisted with pricing, calculating all the variables that impact their costs, and factoring in the competitive factors needed to determine appropriate pricing supports and competitive ceilings. The psychology of pricing shall also be explored.
Which Way Forward? Export, Domestic Or Regional?
- Not every business is ideally situated to pursue export opportunities at a given time. In this module, participants shall be led through a series of guided conversations on the reality of the export market AND an honest evaluation of their current needs and capabilities. Furthermore, participants shall objectively evaluate the promise of export market entry vis-à-vis domestic opportunities and regional market openings. The intent is to equip participants with the tools to objectively evaluate their options before entering a given market.
Classes are held weekly in LIVE, interactive online sessions led by highly experienced practitioners and trainers. Classes are scheduled for evenings and weekends to accommodate working professionals. Students are assigned to cohorts based on a balance between availability in a given cohort and indicated preference of students during the application process.
- The program runs for 6 months.
- Training cohorts typically start the first (working) Monday of every quarter (January, April, July and October).
- Registration for new cohorts closes 1 month in advance of the start date. (For instance, students who want to participate in a program starting in January need to be registered by the end of November.) This is to ensure proper planning and management of cohort sizes.
- Classes typically meet online twice a week; registered students have access to study and test material on the online platform every day of the week.
- Special classes for organizations, groups or associations may be arranged outside of this standing schedule. (For group schedules, send email to ).
The cost of the certificate program is shown below.
|Tuition (Monthly)||Contact the registrar for specific costs as well as tuition assistance.|