How to determine a products export potential? |
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4 steps to determine the export potential of your products


Generally, you assess the export potential of any product the same way you assess its potential in your home market. Here are four steps you can take to evaluate how prepared your company is for exporting.

1. Start with a business plan

Your first step should be to create a business plan for exporting a particular product or service. It should factor in the market, competitive landscape, operational factors, marketing tactics and, of course, budgeting.

As with any strategic planning process, writing a plan will help you understand the problems you may encounter so that you can devise tactics to deal with them beforehand.

2. Select your markets

Unlike planning for a launch in Canada, planning to export involves other factors, including delivery mechanisms over long distances as well as language and cultural differences. Each will present a special challenges.

For example, the perception of quality may differ from country to country depending on the needs of customers. Similarly, markets in each country may vary widely in their comfort level with your product or service.

If yours is a business-to-business service, the requirements and methods of business clients in India, say, may be considerably different than in Canada. If the service is for consumers, you will have to assess the needs (and ability to buy) of potential customers in specific markets. There may not be enough consumers to buy a very expensive service or product, for example.

3. Deepen your research

These decisions at the heart of the planning process require a deep understanding of your target markets, which depends on the depth of information you can locate in advance.

You can obtain much of this information from government agencies such as Export Development Canada and the Canadian Trade Comissioner Service or from foreign government agencies and chambers of commerce.

4. Find partners in your target markets

Another factor to consider is your capacity to deliver and manage your product or service over long distances.

Many exporters planning to deliver products or services find partners such as distributors of sales agents. These partners are immersed in the local culture and will have a better understanding of the subtleties involved in local business.

Also, many exporters first refine their systems in the United States where mistakes can be corrected more easily.

Other resources

Besides BDC, you can also visit Canada Business, a gateway site for businesses that want to export from Canada. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, Export Development Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency have excellent resources for entrepreneurs interested in exporting.