Steps to Exporting Step 2: Have You Done Your Research
Researching the Market
A key mistake companies make is to assume overseas markets are no different to the Irish market. Researching the market thoroughly in advance will help you avoid making mistakes before you start burning cash, losing opportunities, teaming up with the wrong partners or sustaining reputational damage in an overseas market.
What is the realistic international opportunity for your products or service? Evaluate the size, growth-rate and structure of your target market and evaluate the likely return. Examine the uniqueness of your product, relative to your international competitors; how about the longevity of your product before it becomes obsolete; how competent are you and your team at selling your products or service in overseas markets?
Legal Issues to Consider
While UK, Irish and European law is similar, there are some differences between these legal systems, and it is important to seek advice from a legal expert on any potentials impacts on your business. Areas to consider include rules of competition, compliance with government sanctions and regulations, patents registration, product liability, employment legislation, packaging regulation and setting up an office overseas.
Prioritising you target market
Your choice of to the first overseas market to target needs careful consideration. Taking a scatter-gun approach will put an unnecessary strain on your resources and could spread your resources too thinly. Your decision will be influenced by your existing knowledge of the market, potential customers and the presence of competitors in that market. To minimise risk, consider which market has the greatest potential for your product or service and the lowest cost of market-entry.
Export Duties, Regulations and Transportation
When exporting from Ireland, you need to be aware of the regulations, taxes and procedures for processing export orders and for transporting goods into your target country. You should also be aware that some countries require that goods are inspected for quality, quantity and price prior to shipment – the importing country typically nominates a pre-shipment inspection company to supply certification, testing, packaging and logistics services on its behalf. Although ultimate responsibility will lie with you, your shipping company is likely to have considerable experience of these issues and should be able to provide advice on what is required for particular markets as well as the correct packaging and marking of your shipment.