Articles: Approaching the Market

When approaching new foreign markets you need a sound export strategy that becomes a key component of your overall business plan. The U.S. Commercial Service can help.

(Please read-on, or if you prefer click here for a video on the subject.)

Engaging with the U.S. Commercial Service

The U. S. Commercial Service (USCS) is part of the U. S. Department of Commerce, and has offices throughout the country and in over 120 foreign locations. They can help you to develop a sound export strategy and find overseas business partners. Their services include the International Partner Profile, International Partner Search, Gold Key, Platinum Key, Trade Leads, trade events, and more.

(For a USCS services flyer click here.)

Why have an export strategy?

Developing a sound export strategy helps you define your export goals and match your resources to those goals. This strategy will help you manage the export process. Focusing your resources lets you to provide quality responses and service to your new overseas customers.

A well-developed export strategy singles you out as a company that has mature, realistic goals and plans to achieve them.

Incorporating exports in your business plan

An export strategy must be integrated with your company’s overall business plan. Align export activities with daily operations and avoid any conflicts between your domestic and international activities.

Understand the areas where you have a strong competitive advantage. These areas may include your technology, your staff or your business systems. Determine how best to use them to achieve your export goals. Also identify any weaknesses.

(Click here to download a rather useful Export Plan Template.)

What are the key elements of an export strategy?

Bring your key export goals into sharp focus – so you know exactly where to aim your efforts. Particular goals could include:

•  Defending your market position against current exporters
•  Reducing seasonal demand swings
•  Reducing fixed costs
•  Fully realizing production capacity
•  Accessing new technology
•  Adding management capabilities
•  Consolidating your international reputation.

Consider a few possible scenarios

Assess the outlook for your business in the US market.

What are the constraints on your export growth?

Examine a few simple scenarios from low growth and intense competition to a high growth situation. Prepare yourself for a range of marketing contingencies to help assure your firm’s ability to meet varying levels of resource commitment and market demand.

The best export strategy is concise and simple. It involves on-going discipline to assess why your company should export and how you will achieve your goals. Make sure your objectives are clear and that all staff involved in exporting contribute to and understand the strategy.