How do I know I’m ready to explore the international marketplace?
- Export marketing is not cheap or easy. Before committing to an overseas marketing program you must determine if you have the time and resources to do it right. You are probably not ready to tackle the global marketplace if you are still struggling to establish a market for your goods within the US. Conversely, if you are reasonable well-established here, exporting may offer a way to grow your business. Before embarking on an international sales campaign, make sure that your management is committed and that your product is competitive.
What’s the best overseas market for my product or service?
- You can determine your best export opportunities through a combination of desk and field market research. Desk research includes the examination of current trade data for your product including what countries are importing it, which markets are growing and which markets pose acceptable commercial risk. Next, you may request in-country help from of the US Department of Commence, USDA or Georgia Department of Economic Development. Each has trade specialists in several countries that can help you determine your competitiveness to approach potential customers and/or sales representatives.
Do I need a business plan for international business?
- Yes. All companies need a business plan. Your international operations should be incorporated into the plan. If you are just starting to market internationally, we recommend that you revise your business plan to incorporate the international operations. An international business plan defines your overall strategy and goals. It also provides a baseline against which you can rate your actual performance.
Will I need to learn another language?
- English has become the international business language; however developing foreign language skills can give you a marketing edge. You should try to learn a few basic phrases and pleasantries as a courtesy to your foreign customers. Language skills are more important if you are concentrating on a specific foreign market or region, especially if English is not widely spoken.
Do I need to translate my sales literature?
- For most markets, it is generally a good idea to translate sales literature. Even if your customers can read English, presenting information in their language demonstrates your commitment to the market. Also, you should probably translate your measurements into metric, and print your literature on A4 sized paper that will fit into overseas files and envelopes.
Will my product or service have to be adapted for overseas markets?
- Many products must be modified for overseas sale. Each country has its own safety, quality and performance standards, which may impact what you can sell. This is an issue for anything that might pose a health or safety risk, like machinery, drugs, foodstuffs, or pressure-treated lumber. Many products must also conform to the metric system. Electrical items may require modification to function safely at 220 volts. Finally, overseas buyer preferences for size, color and functionality can necessitate product changes.
How do I find information on cultural business practices in other countries?
- Basic cultural guidance is available in many publications, including ?Country Commercial Guides? from the US Department of Commerce. More detailed cultural information can be found in ?Culture-grams? which you can access through the SBDC.