In honor of World Trade Month, we are partnering with the United States Department of Commerce to help your small business learn the ins and outs of exporting. Through a series of “how to” videos and tips, you’ll learn how your company can break out into new markets through the power of international trade. Check back every Tuesday in May for the latest installment.
Trade Tips Step 2: Plan Your International Market Entry Strategy
Beginning to export your U.S. products and services to foreign markets can be a challenge. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone.
Export.Gov and the U.S. Commercial Service offer great resources to help you analyze U.S. export market research, select the best export markets for your product, and get appropriate export licensing and documentation.
Check out the tips below to learn more about how to plan your market entry strategy:
U.S. export market research is essential to your company’s success, but narrowing your research to a few markets can be tricky. It is best to start by researching U.S. trade data. From there, look at countries where you’ve had inquiries for your product, and also consider the 20 countries that have free-trade agreements with the United States. These agreements make exporting to foreign markets cheaper and ease your entry into foreign markets. Once you narrow down your options, it is important to compare markets based on factors such as geography, climate, and those countries’ trade laws. Watch this video to learn more about how to find the best U.S. export markets:
Select Initial Markets
Once you have completed your U.S. export market research, it is time to decide which initial markets to enter. But how do you choose which export markets to focus on? First, research similar products within the market you wish to enter. If they sell well, an opportunity may lie in that market. You will also need to consider how to communicate with your potential customers. If they don’t speak English, a distributor may be able to help close the language gap between you and your buyers. There are other factors to consider as well, like cultural differences, trade laws, taxes, legal fees, shipping costs, and geographic accessibility:
U.S. Export Regulations
Before you take any further steps in the exporting process, you must determine if you are able to export your product. Every country has its own import and export regulations, so it is important to become familiar with export control laws to determine if you need any export licenses. Many products and services don’t need an export license, but you still need to check and make sure that yours aren’t an exception:
Foreign Import Regulations
As a U.S. exporter, you must comply not only with U.S. export regulation laws, but also with the import regulations of other countries. These regulations are commonly put in place to ensure safety, quality, and conformity with the standards of the importing country. Almost all products exported from the U.S. will require some sort of registration, testing, labeling, or licensing prior to releasing for shipment overseas. Make sure you factor into your export plan any additional costs or time required to meet these requirements:
Exporting to foreign markets can be an overwhelming process for business owners. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. The U.S. Commercial Service of the Commerce Department has 108 offices around the country, filled with international trade experts available to help your company export internationally. Your local trade specialist can offer you U.S. export market research, help you acquire proper export licenses, and assist you through every step of the export process:
Click here to learn more about how to become export-ready and to discover what other resources the Department of Commerce and Export.Gov has to offer, and check back for next week’s tips on how to find foreign buyers.