Developing a market research plan to expand your business internationally is never an easy task. Many companies hire an International Marketing Manager or they hire outside consultants to help them access whether their product or service would succeed in the global market. However, many U.S. small to medium-sized businesses are unaware that there are several Department of Commerce customized export resources and programs that can help them through this journey – all at a low cost.
In order to participate in these programs, you must be a U.S. small business that is export ready and your product or service must be U.S.-made or have at least 51% U.S. content. Below are three key customized export resources:
As the name might indicate, this is a quick check to see if your product or service gets any initial interest from key partners and distributors that the Department of Commerce has relationships with abroad. Commerce industry specialists from each country will work with your team to evaluate market potential, get feedback from contacts abroad based on their interest level, and at the end, a written report will be completed with action items and next steps.
Cost: The fee is $450 for small and medium-sized companies.
A customized market research assessment can take months if not years depending upon the scale to which your company wants to grow abroad. This Customized Market Research (CMR) program provides assistance to companies looking to create a research plan and it’s done in a very efficient way. Using their own contacts (e.g., embassies, foreign distributors, foreign government, etc.), the Department of Commerce can began to gauge what market entry issues a U.S. small business might face entering a particular country, what the market size would be and market trends, help develop potential contact lists, examine the competition, find potential partners/distributors and sales channels and review any regulatory issues – just to name a few.
Cost: The fee varies depending on the size of the plan and scope of work.
Have you identified potential foreign partners, distributors or buyers? If so, this is the program for you! Industry specialists will investigate whether your potential foreign partner/distributor is legitimate and has the financial due diligence to do business with you. Officials abroad may even scour through local press reports and make site visits to ensure that you’ve chosen the right partner.
Cost: The fee is $600 for small to medium-sized companies.
Learn How EXIM Bank Can Help Your Small Business Grow
Once the markets have been identified and foreign partners/distributors have been vetted, it’s critical to speak to an EXIM Bank trade specialist about export credit insurance. Having insurance in place before meeting potential foreign buyers allows you to negotiate payment terms, obtain financial due diligence on foreign buyers and protect yourself from foreign buyer nonpayment. To learn more about what we offer, request a consultation here.