After narrowing down your options, it can be beneficial to visit the markets you plan to target. Visiting these markets can help you to gain a firsthand experience of market, build your understanding of the market potential and opportunities and help you gain a clear insight into the customer's needs and wants.
The UK Government launched an ambitious goal of increasing exports to £1 trillion, paving the way for 100,000 more companies to become exporters, and for ‘rebalancing’ the economy all by 2020. This means exports need to grow at 9.2% p.a. to achieve this target. Currently, estimates of annual growth in 2013 come at 1.3%. So what are some of the myths surrounding exporting?
In a survey carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce in 2013, the most commonly identified barrier to overseas trade for current non-exporters was not having a suitable product or service. As a first step to determining the potential market for your new product or service, you often want to know if your product/service is going to satisfy a market need? Who are my potential customers, and where can they be found? How distinct is my product from what is being offered by the competition? While spending time in front of your computer conducting research and gathering information can be helpful, the truth is getting your product/service out there is the only way to gain valuable feedback. Chambers of Commerce around the country organise market seminars and trade missions which will not only advise you on local market conditions but also what product/service is in demand.
Identifying the right market
One way to plan a list of countries to expand into could be to start out by growing your exporting business in shared-language countries, moving onto countries that have free trade agreements with the UK and finally expanding into BRIC countries and the more challenging markets. However, there is no ‘right’ way.
To be successful in your exporting efforts, it is important to gain a comprehensive understanding of the markets you plan to export to. You need to conduct market research, identify potential markets for your products and services and if possible visit your target markets. Export Britain offers easy to read market snapshots on a range of countries. The snapshots will allow you to compare markets by how long and how much it will cost to export a standard container into a particular country. For example, it takes 6 documents, 13 days and £1,750 to get a standard container of goods into Colombia, but only 3 documents, 7 days and £432 to do the same in South Korea.
After narrowing down your options, it can be beneficial to visit the markets you plan to target. Visiting these markets can help you to gain firsthand experience, building your understanding of the market potential and opportunities by helping you gain a clear insight into the customer's needs and wants. Trade missions are also a great way to gain exposure, become noticed in the community and help make efforts to enhance the relationship building process between business partners or distributors.
There is no sure way to gauge the success of a product/service in foreign markets except for biting the bullet and embarking on the export journey. For more resources on exporting, visit Export Britain and take the exporters’ journey.
Sukhdeep Dhillon is the BCC's Global Economic Advisor. For all the latest news from Sukhdeep, follow @SukiDil