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Identify your market

To succeed in exporting, you must first identify the most profitable international markets for your products or services. Without proper guidance and assistance, however, this process can be time consuming and costly — particularly for a small business.

Here are a few tips:

  • Thorough market research is key to success. Understanding your export markets will give you vital information about how to manage your efforts.
  • Do not choose too many markets. For most small businesses, three foreign markets will be more than enough, initially. You may want to test one market and then move on to secondary markets as your experience level develops.
  • Focusing on regional, geographic clusters of countries can also be more cost effective than choosing markets scattered around the globe.

In this section, you will:

  • Classify your product
  • Find countries with the largest and fastest growing markets for your product
  • Determine which foreign markets will be the most penetrable
  • Define and narrow those export markets you intend to pursue
  • Research export efforts of U.S. competitors
  • Determine which countries might be profitable markets for your product/service

Tools & Resources


  • Do you know your HS classification/Schedule B code?
  • Which target market(s) have you selected for your company?
  • What are the pros and cons of the market(s)?
  • What R.O.I. do you need to achieve to make the market(s) worthwhile?
  • Do you know where you can find help to identify the best markets?

Stuck? Speak with a trade specialist at 800-USA-TRADE.

Go! Find additional information and resources to refine your plan.

Proceed to the next section, Prepare For Your Market.