Find an export market for your business

As your business grows and scales, you may need support to find an export market for your business. In this period of growth, many businesses are unfamiliar with international marketplaces and do not know what cultural differences might have an impact on how potential customers perceive products.

This article will give you an overview of some of the aspects that you will need to consider in your market research. It will also point you in the right direction for extra support to help you find an export market for your organisation.

Desk research

To find an export market for your business, you should always start with desk research; it will not cost you anything other than time. Lots of the resources that you will need are readily available online. Just as you would when starting a business in the UK, you will need to gain a good understanding of your target market, including your customer profiles and potential competitors. Our marketing for start-ups guide may help you develop your export marketing plan.

Once you have a better idea of where your product might be well received, you can do a bit more detailed research using the government’s exporting country guides.

The guides include information about markets from all over the world and give you an overview of:

  • the business challenges there;
  • what their existing trade links with the UK are;
  • what opportunities exist there;
  • the legal and entry requirements for your business.

Field research to find an export market for your business

You might also want to conduct field research by heading over to your potential export market or attending trade shows. By doing this, you can take your product directly to potential customers there and see what they think.

This is more costly than doing some desk research, but depending on your business size and potential market, you could be eligible for funding through the Department for International Trade’s Tradeshow Access Programme. If you are developing a new product, you may be eligible for research and development tax relief.

With field research, you will get a far more detailed understanding of the market you are looking to break in to. You will be able to get a better sense of whether or not the target market you established from your desk research is actually the right one for you. You might even make sales while you are there, and get to meet potential overseas agents and distributors.

Who can help you with your export market research?

There are lots of places that you can go to get some help with all parts of your export journey. You can speak with the Growth Hub team, as well as any of the organisations detailed below.

Exporting is Great

GREAT Britain & Northern Ireland have lots of really useful resources that you can use to find an export market for your business. They have a handy search feature that lets you search for export opportunities that international businesses are actively asking for. You simply type in the name of your product and you find out where in the world people are wanting to trade with you. It will let you know what potential partners you can have, where they are, when the opportunity expires, and how many other businesses have applied to be their supplier. 

As well as gathering information about the different opportunities you could apply for, Exporting is Great can also help you find a buyer. If you create a free profile on their site, international buyers will be able to get in contact with you so that you can start a rewarding export partnership with them. On your page, you can also showcase the best parts of your business to encourage people to want to work with you.

Chamber International

Chamber International list several key markets that you might be interested in exporting to. It gives you an overview of what the market is like in a specific country, as well as details on their key exports, and has useful detail on what you can do to help you get in to their market.

Enterprise Europe Network

Enterprise Europe Network can help you pinpoint international opportunities that are best suited to your business. They can work with you to explore each of your potential markets in-depth, and put you in touch with international partners and distributors to make it much easier for you when you actually begin exporting.


Hopefully, this will have given you a place to start when you are thinking about finding your export market, as well as some information about where you can go to find specific support with your export research.

If you would like to discuss your specific need in more detail, please get in touch with our expert team.

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