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CHAPTER: Identifying & Assessing Markets
1. How can I determine which markets are best for me?
  ANSWER: You want to find your best markets, but you also want a manageable number of markets. The world is large. Donít spread yourself too thin or pursue markets that aren't right for you. What's manageable varies for each firm. Aim for a first cut of 5-10 "promising" markets, then weed these down to your top 3-5 "target" markets. Here are some criteria to help you narrow the search (See Exporting Basics for more information and tips on developing a Market Potential Matrix).

∑ Where are U.S. products like mine mostly exported? Look for the largest and fastest growing export destinations for your product over the past several years.

∑ Which countries are mostly importing products like mine? Look for countries with the largest and fastest growing imports of your product over the past several years.

∑ Where would products like mine be most competitive? Look for countries with limited competition from local producers and a strong U.S. market share for products like yours.

∑ Where are products like mine most welcome and easiest to sell? Look for countries with high receptivity to U.S. products like yours and no significant market barriers.

These four criteria generally apply for any product or industry. You can add your own product-specific indicators as appropriate. Here are some to consider:

∑ Economic indicators -- for products affected by economic or income levels (e.g., level and growth of GNP/GDP; per capita GNP/GDP; industrial/agricultural production, etc.).

∑ Demographic indicators -- for products aimed at particular population groups (e.g., level and growth of population by age, sex, race, religion; profession, etc.)

∑ Sectoral indicators -- for products aimed at particular industry sectors (e.g., number and growth of relevant manufacturers; hospitals; cars, houses, banks; utility companies; etc.

∑ Infrastructure indicators -- for products that use or require infrastructure support (e.g., level and growth of power, transportation, communications and other facilities.).

∑ Financial indicators -- for products affected by fiscal and monetary developments (e.g., level and growth of consumer/wholesale/industrial prices; interest rates; foreign exchange reserves; national debt, etc.

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