As many small- and medium-sized companies found when the pandemic hit, keeping your eggs in one market isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When your market enters a recession or closes due to an unforeseen event, you’re left scrambling to find new customers.

So it’s no wonder that “How can I find new markets?” is one of the top questions we get asked here at EDC’s Export Help Hub. By refusing to let borders define their business, entrepreneurs and business leaders are discovering several key benefits of growing globally, even beyond the ability to pivot their focus to other markets as situations arise. I’ll tell you what those competitive advantages are, how you can find new markets for your company through an amazing new tool called Market Finder by Google, and how EDC can help you enter your chosen markets, strategically and successfully. 

Why diversifying markets is best for your business

Finding and breaking into new markets has always made good business sense. But with the economic impacts of COVID-19 encouraging companies to start or strengthen their e-commerce sales, there’s never been a better time—or more government and commercial support—to explore other countries for sales opportunities. Here are just a few of the many reasons to get into the global-market game:

  • You can start small by entering just one new market at a time. It’s better to expand in bite-size pieces, rather than bite off more than you can chew. 
  • There are tons of resources to help you ensure your business is export ready, no matter its size. There’s a network of Canadian trade-related organizations, including EDC, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), the Trade Commissioner Service, and more, that work together to help you do business internationally. 
  • Diversifying markets means you can spread your risk. Your company will be better equipped to sail through economic ups and downs, making it less vulnerable and more resilient. 
  • Larger markets equal more sales opportunities. Consider that over 99% of the world’s consumers live outside of Canada, and over the next 20 years, 80% of economic growth is coming from outside of North America and Europe.
  • Canada has 14 trade and investment agreements encompassing 51 countries, giving Canadian companies competitive access to 1.5 billion consumers globally. 
  • Dealing in other markets can expose you to new ideas, technology, processes, resources, equipment and talent. You can apply those learnings to making your company more innovative and competitive both at home and abroad.
  • Entering a new market before your competitors can give you a first-in-market advantage and the chance to build brand loyalty, making it harder for your competitors to follow.

Zero in on new opportunities with Market Finder by Google

Still, with roughly 200 markets in the world (with sub-markets in many of those markets!) choosing your best first forays may seem daunting.

Fortunately, Market Finder is a new, free tool from Google that can help you identify promising potential markets specific to your business, gleaned from in-depth country-level data and consumer insights. You can also use Market Finder to drill down into knowledge and insights that enable you to prepare and adapt your business to local markets, from providing their preferred payment methods to customer care services.

I’m really excited about this tool, because it supports our efforts at EDC to help Canadian innovators connect with markets presenting the best opportunities for them. By seeing how the tool works (check out the online video demo), you can instantly understand what it can do for your company. 

First, enter your company’s URL and you’re on your way. Market Finder identifies the product categories your business offers, providing up to five categories that best reflect what your company does. You can change these categories or add new ones if you wish.

The tool then recommends your top three markets, based on a weighted ranking of metrics including monthly average search demands for your product categories, macroeconomic factors such as disposable income and ease of doing business, and competition, which are key to develop your international market entry. You can change your markets at any time.

You can sign into your Google Account (or create a new account) to get your final report. In addition to the recommended top three markets, there’s also 40 metrics across seven different categories you can dive into, to better understand country profiles, economic profiles, consumer and purchase behaviour, and much more. 

Next, you can plan your operations, with insights into localization requirements, payment preferences, logistics, taxation, and more for your potential markets. 

As well, there’s a section where you can connect to Google tools that help you market your e-commerce or international business, and even insights on how to navigate your business during COVID-19. 

Market Finder officially launched during the Canadian Export Challenge–Start Up Canada in September 2020.

EDC takes you to the next level

There’s no question that selling to new markets, even online, comes with added risk. But as Canada’s international risk experts, we’ve got lots of resources to help you take the next steps to arrive and thrive in your chosen markets. That includes risk management, financing and working capital solutions, and expert knowledge and insight. 

Here are just a few of the ways we can help:

  • Make sure you get paid, especially in these unpredictable times when even established companies are closing their doors. With EDC’s credit insurance, if your international customer doesn’t pay you, we will. You can also use credit insurance to offer more competitive terms and leverage your insured accounts receivable to raise more working capital, and EDC Select Credit Insurance is perfectly designed for smaller companies entering new markets. Try our quick credit insurance quote calculator to see how affordable it is.
  • Don’t let fluctuating exchange rates take a bite out of your bottom line. EDC’s Foreign Exchange Facility Guarantee allows you to avoid posting collateral for your foreign exchange contract provide—so your cash is free for doing business. 
  • Let EDC share the risk with your bank so you can get the financing you need. Through the Export Guarantee Program, we give your bank peace of mind by guaranteeing the money you borrow, encouraging them to increase your access to working capital. 
  • Build business resilience and adjust to the new normal with EDC’s practical cash flow guide, with straightforward advice, tips and tools.
  • Get detailed, expert answers to your market and trade questions from EDC’s Export Help and Export Help Hub. Quickly and easily find answers or, if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, pose your own questions to the Export Help Team.
  • Conduct due diligence of your international buyers and suppliers. EDC Company InSight can help you find reliable and trustworthy information about foreign companies. 
  • Find vetted suppliers through EDC InList, connecting you to service providers in Canada and around the world. New types of suppliers continue to be added. 
  • Learn something new in under an hour using the free EDCxFITT FITTskills Lite Series, covering topics such as market entry strategy, conducting cost and pricing analysis for exporting products, crossing borders and managing customs, etc. 

Market insight:

Explore new markets and stay abreast of new developments with our market guides and Country Risk Quarterly reports. 

Other guides & tools:

Believe it or not, these are just some of our resources, and we add more on a regular basis, focused directly on what Canadian companies tell us they need. The bottom line is that EDC is here with our many partners, to guide you to new markets every step of the way. So don’t wait—try the Google Market Finder and start planning your next market entry now.