Step 1: Selecting your export market

Which country should you export to?
Which market segment of your target country will get you the best returns?

Importance of market research
Each industry has its own unique characteristics. Even within the same industry, the conditions and ways of doing business may vary across different countries, regions and states. When you export to a new market, you will need to find ways of handling all these differences to maximize your chances of achieving long-term export success.
The success or failure of your export venture is largely determined by how well you perform your market research prior to exporting. You will need to thoroughly evaluate the pros and cons associated with various markets before the choosing the most appropriate market for your exports.
Often, sustainable export success comes down to your experience, personal network and your primary knowledge of the market. Such capabilities take time to build. You can start building your own market selection expertise by taking the first step.

Diligently carrying out secondary research on your markets will help you:
·Contrast and compare different markets
·Gauge the potential for business within a particular market
·Make informed decisions about the market you should approach
·Fine-tune your business decisions for your chosen market

Identifying your market
Identifying the market that best suits your product or service will be one of the most important internationalization decisions that you will make. While regional markets may be easier and cheaper to enter, more distant markets may be more challenging but could yield higher returns. You will need to decide how you will strike a balance between available opportunities and chances of success.

Some factors about a market that you may wish to consider include:
·Its political stability, economic situation and security
·The demographics, size and segmentation of your target consumers
·The local market trends affecting your product or service
·Competitors' products or services and performance
·Accessibility of local distribution channels
·Import and entry regulations and procedures
·Common entry models of other importers
·Entry strategies that best fit your business

Challenges and issues to be aware of
You will need to consider all the possible challenges to exporting and whether you can overcome them.

Some common challenges faced by exporters include:
·Existence of import barriers such as quotas and currency restrictions
·Customs tariff and duties
·Taxation on corporate entities and profit repatriations
·Health and safety regulations
·CE marking for exports if you are exporting products to Europe
·Environmental standards, industry regulations, quarantine and regulatory requirements
·Accreditation issues
·Payment methods
·Legal issues
·Intellectual property protection
·Accessibility of local logistics to distribute your products in the market

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