Many small businesses are finding new markets in countries around the world. Exporting is potentially very profitable, but takes planning and commitment. There is help available to those businesses interested in exploring this option.
As in every new venture, you need to begin with a plan, in this case an international business plan. Your plan should include the following parts:
- Long-term and short-term goals
- Industry analysis
- Analysis of your product and company
- Marketing strategy
- Select the best countries for your product
- Identify customers
- Determine export method
- Find a distributor or agent
- Identify special product concerns such as packaging, labeling, conversion, etc.
- Plan delivery methods
- Develop pricing strategy
- Develop promotion plan
- Make customer service decisions including warranties, payment options, etc.
- Sales forecast
- Costs of goods (Besides material and labor, you must consider packing, container loading, freight, wharfage, handling, terminal charges, courier mail, documentation, consular legalization, bank documentation, dispatch, bank collection fees, cargo insurance, etc.)
- International overhead expenses
- Projected income statement
- Break-even analysis
- Action plan
Begin your research into foreign markets by classifying your product. You will need to know the HSTC (Harmonized System of Tariff Classification) number, and the NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) and SITC (Standard International Trade Classification) codes.
Next, target your market by finding countries with the best markets for your product(s). Data may be available from trade associations or from the SBAtlas, The World Factbook, Foreign Trade Report FT900, the National Trade Data Bank, and other sources.
Check your local public library or business library for those references not available on the Internet.
Once you have narrowed your market to a few countries, you can analyze your market position in relation to those countries to determine which to pursue.