1. Take a good look at your business and products
Analyse trends in your industry and demand for your products to gain a better picture of how they will sell in the future – both domestically and internationally.
Also, if you’re already getting questions about your products from people in other countries or your website is getting visits from countries you’re not yet doing business with, these could be great starting points!
2. Know your competition
Do your homework! As Theo Paphitis stated at the International Trade Conference last October, “You can never do too much prep about the market you’re going into.”
It’s crucial to know what’s already out there and how much competition you may be facing. Identify some similar products and see what other foreign (and domestic!) companies are selling to this market. By looking at your competitors, you can see where the new opportunities are and where the market is already saturated.
3. Understand the market
It’s important to understand how trade is conducted in countries with other customs and business practices. Our global trade map features destination fact sheets to countries around the world to help you learn more about the countries you might want to trade with.
We recommend you start by shortlisting the markets you consider most promising. Then you can start looking closely at the legal, political, economic, language and cultural factors that may affect trading with these countries.
Spend some time identifying any patterns or trends. As economies change, so does the trade potential in each country. By doing your research, checking the news frequently and keeping an eye on possible markets, you’ll be able to identify good opportunities and establish the right time and place to sell your products internationally.
Also try to set aside some time to visit some of your chosen destinations – trade missions can be a great starting point.
4. Identify any obstacles
Once you’ve gotten to know the countries you’re planning to trade with, focus on any challenges you may need to overcome. Look for export and import barriers, local factors that could impact your trade, and any potential financial risks involved.
5. Choose your markets
Now it’s time to make a choice! Remember: you don’t have to begin by trading with many countries at once. It’s often less overwhelming to start with one or two and gain a real understanding of them so that you can develop a clear strategy to grow your business internationally.
Successfully navigating the global trade process does involve planning and research, but support is here to help you. Browse the DHL Guide or talk to our Business Export Advisors for practical advice for global success – covering every step of your journey.
The British Chambers of Commerce also offer resources for UK businesses looking to go global. Chambers organises trade missions, connects UK exporters with contacts in new markets and helps create shipping documentation such as letters of credit, ATA Carnets and Certificates of Origin.
UKTI is the government body which provides expert international trade advice and practical support to UK-based companies who want to grow their business overseas. Their Passport to Export Service https://www.gov.uk/passport-to-export-service and Export Marketing research Scheme https://www.gov.uk/export-marketing-research-scheme are great programmes for people at this stage. In addition, UKTI are a fantastic resource to help you overcome many of the barriers to doing business abroad.