Global trade is becoming increasingly popular and small business owners are able to take part in this trend. By expanding your market to foreign countries, you open the door for new opportunities and allow for an increase in your sales, which will ultimately increase your profit; however, this can be challenging if you are unfamiliar with exporting, but we're going to make it easy for you to understand.
4 Tips for Exporting to your Market
1. Finding Potential Markets
- Obtain trade statistics that indicate which countries import your products
- Perform a thorough review of the available market research reports in the country (or countries) and industries in question to determine market openness, common practices, tariffs and taxes, distribution channels, and other important considerations
- Identify five to ten large and fast-growing markets for the firm's product(s) and analyze them over the past three to five years for market growth in good and bad times
- Identify some smaller, but fast-emerging, markets where there may be fewer competitors
2. Assess Targeted Markets: Examine the consumption and production of competitive products, as well as overall demographic and economic trends in the target country.
- Ascertain the sources of competition, including the extent of domestic industrial production and the major foreign countries the firm would compete against
- Analyze factors affecting marketing and use of the product in each market, such as end-user sectors, channels of distribution, cultural idiosyncrasies, and business practices
- Identify any foreign barriers
- Identify any U.S. export controls
- Locate foreign standards and certifications
- Identify U.S. or foreign incentives to promote exporting of your product or service
- Learn about the Pennsylvania GAP Grant for travelling overseas
- Determine whether your product is price competitive after you've figured in packaging, shipping, marketing, sales commissions, taxes and tariffs, and other associated costs
- Determine your landed cost
3. Draw Conclusions
- If the company is new to exporting, it is probably a good idea to target 2 or 3 markets, and gradually expand.
4. Test Demand: There are several low-cost online and offline services that can help new exporters gauge foreign market interest and collect overseas inquiries. These are a few that we recommend:
- Catalog Exhibitions
- Commercial News USA
- Foreign Partner Matching and Trade Lead Services
- International Buyer Program at the U.S. Shows
By using these four tips, you will be ready to begin the exporting process and expand your company. Find your markets and reach out to them!
The Duquesne University SBDC provides free business consulting for entrepreneurs in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Click here to request free consulting, or contact the SBDC for additional help and information.
Brent Rondon is the manager for the Global Business and International Entrepreneurs Program at the Duquesne University SBDC. With over 23 years of experience assisting U.S. companies to sell globally, establishing relationships with business centers in Latin America and opening businesses in the U.S. as Foreign Direct Investment, Brent also teaches export/import seminars, as well as lectures, at the Schools of Business for Duquesne University, the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. He earned his MPA Degree from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.