Exporting your product and services requires planning. Like any successful project, one of the first steps is making a plan. Whether you’re going on vacation, conducting a domestic business transaction or starting a new venture one common trait is essential for success . . . careful attention to detail. A great starting point to determine your company’s level of preparedness for international market entry is completing an export readiness assessment.
Selecting the appropriate markets for our products and services, determining how to strategically engage target markets, and securing the financial and managerial resources are just some of the analyses needed to ensure that your export venture is a long-term success. The results of such an assessment may, for example, lead to modifying and ramping up production in order to ship your products to South America or perhaps giving consideration to a more complex venture of opening an office abroad.
Are you interested in exporting to a new market? Need help finding the best overseas business partner?
The U.S. Commercial Service’s Gold Key business matchmaking service does exactly that. The Gold Key Service is a cost-recovery fee based, customized matchmaking service, which enables U.S. companies to find an ideal overseas distributor or business representative. The Gold Key is provided through your local U.S Export Assistance Center which works with the U.S. Embassy in the country of interest.
For larger countries, that require multiple distributors/business partners, the Gold Key Service is offered specifically for the geographic area you would like to target. The service pre-screens and organizes a day or two of meetings with 3-5 potential partners which you then fly out to meet. A Gold Key can take 6-8 weeks to complete so planning ahead is necessary.
Where is the value?
As you can imagine, U.S. companies find this service very valuable because they receive pre-scheduled meetings with pre-qualified distributors vetted by an in-country Commercial Specialist at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, prior to traveling to the market. Obviously no business partner is absolutely perfect but every effort is made to identify a compatible relationship.
Small businesses interested in starting or expanding sales of their goods and services overseas have access to a new, free online tool that will gauge their readiness to export and help them develop an export business plan.
The Export Business Planner, developed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, offers a ready-made, customizable and easily accessible document that can be updated and referenced continuously as the business grows.