Exporting to Canada from the UK? One of the first things you need to consider is the potential of the Canadian market and your product’s potential in Canada.
The sorts of questions you need to ask include:
- What is the size of your market? Will it grow or contract? Why?
- How well does your product fit into the current market? Is it targeted at an existing market or is it something new?
- What are the buying habits in the market? Does Canada differ from the UK?
- What are the different segments of the market? Do you want to compete in all of them or only some of them?
- Who are the competitors in the market and why do the trade and the consumers buy from them?
You will then need to do some back of the envelope calculations to get a perspective on the potential size of your brand in Canada (your market share, the margins that might be expected, the promotional costs etc.) so that you can get a feel for the overall Profit and Loss in Canada.
Who would have thought that exporting to Canada from the UK was so easy!! Is that all you have to know even BEFORE you start?
Research is clearly needed.
Let me just take a minor digression here and say that you should only use research as an aid to decision making and not as the decision maker. Research is not a substitute for thinking!
In large part, the amount of money you spend on research and the type of research you use, depends on the size of the risk you are taking relative to the size of your overall business. I’m sure some economist somewhere has developed a nice formula for this, but for me its basic common sense.
Also, I frequently advise my clients that they should use a staged approach when exporting to Canada from the UK. You can grow your business stage by stage, without having to over-invest in the early stages. We quite often start by using good value on-line tools like Ask Your Target Market to better understand potential. Its basically another sort of “Crowdsourcing” which will allow you to “tap into the wisdom of the virtual crowd for modest prices”.
Another way to assess demand and potential is actually to sell something. We have used E-commerce, trade shows or even distributor/trade meetings to see whether someone will buy a product. If you do this in a measured and controlled way you can get enormous insight into the Canadian market. Its a method that we use frequently.
But assessing the market potential when you are considering exporting to Canada from the UK is only one aspect that needs to be considered. There are others which I will cover in future blogs. I plan to cover distribution and promotion, but I’m always open to other suggestions.
Assessing market potential is an important first step to determine whether you should put more time, effort and money into exporting to Canada from the UK, but (and this is an important but), the cost of this assessment need not be prohibitive and certainly should never be a barrier to getting started.
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