How the Trade Commissioner Service can help you go global
The Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) helps Canadian businesses seize global opportunities. Here’s how:
1. It assesses your international market potential
- The TCS provides direction and links to the resources that will help you determine which markets have the greatest demand for your products or services.
2. It prepares you to do business abroad
- The TCS shares online tools and networking opportunities, so you can prepare your market entry plan
- It advises you about relevant trade missions in your markets of interest
3. It introduces you to in-market contacts
- With more than 1,000 officers in about 160 posts around the world, in-market trade commissioners will introduce you to pre-qualified contacts, including sales agents and distributors, lawyers, translators, technology partners, finance and investment sources, government contacts, and potential customers, and help resolve business problems should they arise.
Register for your free MyTCS account today
Top 5 steps to a successful market entry plan
1. Define your unique value proposition. What problem does your product or service solve and why is your solution better than your competitors’?
2. Prepare market justification. What is the demand profile, competitive landscape, and how will you need to adapt your product or service to better suit a new market?
3. Plan sales strategy. Enter a new market one step at a time using this phased-in sales methodology:
- Try direct exporting to gauge the market.
- Use reliable agents and distributors.
- Develop your own local sales representation.
- Build a local supply facility.
4. Identify target customers. Research which companies are buying your product or service and identify the company contacts responsible for buying decisions.
5. Allocate resources. Itemize and allocate the financial, operational and human resources required to pursue new business and deliver on contracts once they’re executed.
Remember, treat your entrance into each new market as if it were a new line of business
How to leverage networks to connect with customers
Before you set foot in a new market, make sure you’ve established as many global contacts as you can while you’re still here in Canada. Here’s how:
1. Take advantage of existing business networks that may have links to customers or business events in international markets, including:
- Employees. They’ll likely be able to provide insights into many international markets.
- Social media. LinkedIn, Eventbrite, Meetup, and even Facebook are great ways to find experts, referrals and important events.
- Suppliers. They may already be selling to an international market you’re interested in.
- Customers. Your U.S. customer could be part of an international supply chain.
2. Join business organizations and take part in their networking events and programs:
- Trade accelerator programs, such as the Toronto Board of Trade TAP Program
- Municipal business organizations such as Invest Ottawa
- Instructional networks, including Forum for International Trade Training (FITT)
- Organizational networks, like Organization for Women in International Trade
- Chambers of Commerce—local, national and international
- Member-based organizations — such as the Canadian Council on Africa
3. Participate in industry networking events and programs.
- You can avoid your direct competitors and still engage in the overall industry orbit.
- Connect with other entrepreneurs interested in entering a new country.
- Get advice from others who are doing business in your markets of interest.
4. Tap into provincial and federal government trade organizations, including:
- StartUp Canada: A national entrepreneur community with local chapters across Canada
- Trade Commissioner Service (TCS): Find sector- and country-specific trade missions and start building your overseas network by working with the regional trade commissioner nearest you
- EDC Business Connections Program: Make direct connections through Global Trade Director networks, organized B2B events, and collaboration with TCS at trade shows
- Provincial trade ministries: Examples include the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
Top 5 pillars of a successful digital marketing strategy
- Modern, accessible and mobile-friendly
- Should load within two-to-three seconds. Test your website’s speed at PageSpeed Insights
- Display high-quality photographs and videos
- Ensure your key pages (home, products and services, contact) have concise, compelling and unique content.
- Blog to demonstrate your expertise and experience, then share it through social media channels to build up your search engine optimization (SEO) ranking.
- Find out how your website visitors are interacting with your site using Google Analytics.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Develop a strategy to boost your website rankings through Google and the search engines dominating your market of interest.
- Websites that have more links from other websites tend to rank better on search engines.
- Boost your rankings by connecting with SEMRUSH and Help A Reporter.
4. Social media
- Start by focusing on one or two of the top channels—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram—and do them well.
- Develop a content strategy and calendar.
- Keep it simple and avoid over-selling.
5. Paid advertising
- Only do this once the other four pillars are firmly established.
- Google Ads is an inbound strategy that typically provides much higher conversion rates for businesses.
- Facebook Ads can be highly targeted, but conversion rates are lower because visitors are typically not intent on buying.
Forum for International Trade Training (FITT)
- Access free resources and sign up for online courses and workshops to improve your international business skills.
Trade Commissioner Service
- Start by contacting a trade commissioner in the regional office closest to you to learn how to get export-ready for your most promising international markets.
- Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting
- Country and Sector Information for International Business
- Global Trade Missions and Events
- CanExport Program
- Export Quiz: Are You Ready?
- Canada’s Trade and Investment Agreements
Canada Business Network (aka Concierge /Innovation Canada)
- Click on International Trade & Investment for exporting, innovation and investment resources, as well as trade data and market intelligence.
- One-stop portal for all federal, provincial and municipal business programs.
Trade Accelerator Program
- Developed by the World Trade Centre in Toronto and now available in major cities across Canada.
World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index
- Access 190 countries ranked by 10 topics to determine overall ease of doing business.
Canadian Technology Accelerator
- Supports high-potential technology companies expand internationally.
Guest panelist organizations
EDC Webinar series
Our popular webinars are packed with information you need to succeed globally. Check out past webinars or sign up for upcoming broadcasts that interest you.