Before You Export: 5 Tips for Gathering Market Intel
Did you know that more than 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States? That’s a staggering number – and perhaps even more so is this figure: only one percent of U.S. small businesses are selling to those consumers.
The benefits abound when it comes to selling Made-in-America goods and services internationally. In addition to the cultural exchange inherent when developing global relationships, U.S. businesses – including small, minority- and women-owned businesses – can grow faster, hire more employees and pay higher wages.
There’s a huge global market for your small business offerings, so here are a few insights from experienced exporters to consider as you go about gathering international market intelligence.
- Explore the commercial side as well as the cultural and economic aspects of the new prospective market – You’ll want to get a full picture of doing business here, which goes beyond the walls of the workplace and business processes.
- See what your products are up against – Be aware of the competition to determine if this is really a place for you and, if so, strategize accordingly to maximize your business’ success.
- Check out your prospective customers – Research the market thoroughly through online data, published material and reviews in addition to conversations you’ll have with them directly.
- Commercial Service’s catalog shows – Get your name in front of prospective customers at a low cost with help from U.S. Commercial Service trade specialists located in international markets. They’ll translate your company profile into the local language, display your marketing materials, collect sales leads from interested local buyers and assist you as you follow up with local contacts.
- Be prepared to show your product(s) at trade shows – Put your product on display and your best business face forward at trade shows, which you can do successfully with these 35 tradeshow essentials.
If you are ready to explore exporting, here are a few resources that can help you take the first steps:
- Assess your small businesses’ readiness to export with these 6 steps
- Determine if exporting is the right strategy for your small business with our 30-minute online course, An Introduction to Exporting
- Consult a U.S. Export Assistance Center to learn how take your company international
- Download our Export Business Planner a free, customizable tool that enables business owners to determine export readiness
- Enroll in Export University, a series of online courses designed for all stages of exporting