Small Business BC

How to Enter International Markets

Meet Doug Taylor, an international business consultant at Small Business BC 

Why Should Small and Medium sized Businesses Consider Exporting? 

Small and medium sized companies really should think about export markets, as it provides a number of benefits:
 
First and foremost it will increase your sales and revenue.  
 
Secondly, it will diversify your market base and your customer base, and that’s really important. 
 
Thirdly, going international and attacking export markets, allows you to be more competitive. Because you’re going to have to compete with the best in the world.
 

Where Can I Find Information on Market Opportunities?

There are a host of market opportunities for small and medium sized companies, all over the world. The first place to go is online. There are a huge number of websites that can guide you, train you, and help you identify good markets.
 
The first place you should go, is to tradestart.ca
 
The other areas you can look at are attending tradeshows and trade conferences in your industry, in the markets you are interested in. You might also want to look at government trade missions. They might not provide you with all the market intelligence you want, but they will certainly identify and help you make contacts within that market. 

How Does a Company Know Which Country to Sell to? 

Knowing which country to market, requires you to complete a self-analysis of your own business. You might want to try standard strategic planning tools like undertaking a SWOT analysis and /or a PEST analysis.  These will help you determine how competitive you will actually be in international markets. 

What do I Need to Know Before I Choose a Market?

First and foremost is what are the cultural differences and the ways of doing business in that market.
 
Secondly, you need to know if there are any strategic partnerships you need to develop either in government or in industry. 
 
Finally you need to have really good legal and financial advice, that is based locally in that country. 

How do I Become Competitive?

Being competitive takes a solid business strategy. You need to build your business to become the best in class. And before entering international markets, you must first be successful at home.  No one is going to buy your product internationally, if no one in your domestic market currently buys it. 
 
With careful planning, solid research and solid business strategy, you can be on the road to successfully enter international markets.