Part 3: The Who, What, Where, Why and How of Exporting in Business Where to Export
by Selma Canas, CGBP | December 22, 2021
In part two of this series, “Who Can Help,” I provided information on the many resources available to enterprises that are looking to expand internationally – the U.S. Commercial Service (USCS), Enterprise Florida (EFI), Global Tampa Bay (GTB) and the Florida SBDC at USF (SBDC). These resources can also help with market research to answer the question, “Where to Export.”
Conducting market research takes a lot of time but is definitely time well spent. Start by looking at trade flows, which shows where there is demand for a product. The data will show which countries are importing the most of a product from all countries as well as from the U.S. Determining the U.S. market share of a country’s imports identifies those countries that are friendly to “Made in the U.S.” products. UN Comtrade Database has free access to detailed global trade data.
Analyzing the industry is an important part of identifying key indicators of what is driving the industry on a global scale. Databases that provide industry reports include IBISWorld, MarketLine, and Euromonitor. These are paid subscription databases but may be available in local libraries or from resource partners.
Industry reports provide critical market information such as industry performance, trends, outlook, competitive landscape and much more. There are also industry specific databases, like Kalorama, the leading publisher of market research in medical markets. These reports provide very specific data by segment and are a great resource for any medical device manufacturer.
Industry trade associations provide very beneficial information, such as, outlook and trends, industry events and resources, membership directories, data and annual reports. Some examples include:
- IATA – International Air Transport Association
- Safe Kids Worldwide
- IBPA – Independent Book Publishers Association
- GAMA – General Aviation Manufacturers Association
- NAFA – National Air Filtration Association
Open source databases provide information on key indicators that are driving a specific industry. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) provides data by country that would include important key indicators for medical device manufacturers, such as, physician density per 1000 population, hospital beds per 10,000 population, and current health expenditure. The World Bank provides data by country for education, economy, environment, gender, health, infrastructure, and many more indicators.
Another way to research global demand is by analyzing competitors. Companies share a great deal of their global activities on their websites. You may find the tradeshows they will be participating in or have in the past and may want to consider participating as well. Tradeshow websites typically have a directory of exhibitors which is a great way to identify potential customers, partners and competitors.
Google’s Market Finder tool uses keywords to show the number of searches by country. You enter keywords related to your product and/or service and easily see which countries are searching those keywords per month. It is a great indicator of demand and can help identify potential countries for exporting.
Market research is a critical part of any export expansion plan as it can save a lot of time and money. By researching pertinent indicators, demand and competition, you will be able to rank countries and choose the two to five countries with the best potential for your industry, product and/or service.
The international trade specialists at the Florida SBDC at USF have access to many databases that would be cost prohibitive for the small business owner. They develop export marketing plans customized to a company’s industry, product and/or service, and target markets.
Selma CanasCanas, Consultants, International Consultants 2, Tampa
NASBITE Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP), Florida SBDC at USF, Tamp
Specialties: International Trade, Export Marketing Plans, Market Research
Selma Canas is responsible for guiding small businesses through the complexities of developing export marketing and international expansion plans and teaching seminars on basic international trade. She has developed more than 30 Export Marketing Plans during the past six years for local businesses, and participated in trade missions to Brazil, Chile, Canada, and the Dominican Republic. Canas has more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing and customer service in a variety of industries, including freight forwarding, real estate and advertising. As a co-owner of Restaurant Guide USA, she increased sales and distribution points and tripled the size of the distributed product.
As a real estate broker-owner, Canas carved a niche in the Latin American community and had a career sales volume of more than $37 million. Canas earned her bachelor degree in economics from the University of South Florida. She is a NASBITE Certified Global Business Professional and holds an Export and Trade Counseling Certification from the U.S. Small Business Association. Selma earned Florida SBDC at USF Employee of the Year honors in 2016. She is a member of Toastmasters international and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.