...Making It Happen

Export and International Market Development

LEO Kildare's Supports To Start Your Export Journey


You’ve achieved some success on the Irish market with your product or service, – but is it the right product/service for an export market, and which product/service should you export? Can you sustain a competitive position internationally, what level of localisation is needed and at what price? Have you considered the impact of local regulations, language and cultural issues, service expectations, local competition, income-levels, shipping time/costs and the effect of any tariffs or duties on affordability?

Our Brexit and Internationalisation advisor can assist you with answering these questions and more. If you are interested in exporting, please complete our Export Readiness Scorecard and our advisor will be in contact with you shortly to discuss how we can assist you on the export journey. 

Outlined below are some critical elements to consider for your business as you take your first steps on the export journey. 

Value Proposition

Your value proposition is an expression of your unique value-add. It leaves your customers in no doubt as to whom they are dealing with and what exactly you have to offer.

Determining your competitive advantage is a key part of the strategic planning process. True competitive advantage is achieved when you can offer your customers greater value – either by providing them with greater benefits and service to justify higher prices or by offering them lower prices. You need to understand what’s innovative about your product or service and what differentiates it from others in the international marketplace, allowing you to charge a premium price while giving your customers clear reasons for choosing your product over your competitors’. 

Regarding your value proposition and competitive advantage, have you considered mentoring with a brand consultant? Kildare Local Enterprise Office can assist you by providing you with the guidance and support of a brand consultant through our Business Mentoring Programme.

Target Customers

What customer groups are you targeting, where and why? How many potential clients exist in the new export market? A well-defined target market is the first element in developing your marketing strategy. Once you’ve defined who your target market is, your marketing strategy and plan should be primarily aimed at satisfying that market.

Enterprise Ireland's Market Research Centre is open to Local Enterprise Office clients on a case by case basis. To avail of this support, please get in touch with our export advisor and we will advise you.  

Competitor Analysis

Only when you have a good understanding of who your competitors are, at home and overseas and their strengths and weaknesses, can you identify your true competitive advantage. You need to know who else is competing for your market, their products and services, advantages and disadvantages of their offering and their market share.

Think Business is an excellent resource to carry out a detailed analysis of your competitors, and they have an easy to access and useful template for competitor analysis. Please click here to access this template.  

Routes to Market/Market Channels

Assuming you know the market you want to target and have a clear idea of its potential, you need to decide on the channel by which your product will reach your customers. How you enter a market is a strategic decision to either sell directly or partner with someone to sell on your behalf. This will be guided by resources, opportunity and the nature of your offering.

Setting and agreeing expectations is the key to establishing a strong relationship with an export partner from the outset. The types of details you may want to consider include sales objectives and shared marketing plans, exclusivity, pricing, margins, discounts and payment terms. It can also be wise to include a ‘get out’ clause if targets are not being met or the arrangement is not working.

The Enterprise Europe Network is a Europe-wide network aimed at supporting SME's to identify and connect with international partners and it is open to Kildare businesses. If you wish to discuss utilising the network to growing your business internationally, please contact us to discuss

The Local Enterprise Office can assist you to develop your online presence and enable you to connect with international partners with our Trading Online Voucher Scheme. In order to apply for the voucher, you must first attend an information seminar. We encourage you to apply for these seminars on our Online Booking system. 

To help you to reach international buyers and partners in non-English speaking markets, you can avail of the Export Marketing Grant for translation and web development services, as well as influencer marketing and international PR. Please also refer to the eligibility criteria for this grant. 

Sales Process

Implementing the right sales process is fundamental to the international success of your business. But first you need to understand what level of selling and sales capability the company has right now, how likely that capability can be transferred to export markets and how you can better use technology to enable your sales management capability. 

We frequently host training seminars and programmes on how to improve your sales capability on topics such as:

  • How to set realistic targets and goals;
  • How to revise your margins on products/services based on the increased costs associated with exporting;
  • How to measure success;
  • Utilising a digital marketing strategy to grow your online presence internationally. 

For training and guidance on the above topics and more, please keep an eye on our Online Bookings.

Planning Export Finance

Planning your export finance broadly revolves around the costs involved in setting up and running an export operation and the approach you need to take to managing payment risk. Credit management, export credit insurance, letters of credit, invoice discounting and factoring are just some of the issues to consider. You also need to consider the lead-time before receiving your first order and the length of your sales cycle, which can vary from market to market.  For example, what are the cash implications for funding a sales cycle of 18 to 24 months?

While you need to be price-competitive, your product or service should not compete solely on price. In setting your prices, you will need to consider your competitors’ prices, the level of existing competition in the market, your customers’ perception of the price/quality relationship, production and distribution costs and the overheads associated with exporting.

Developing your market plan requires careful planning and time and is a key step in helping you determine your readiness to export.