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2. Select your market

Calculate the Total Addressable Market (TAM) for each of your potential overseas market opportunities by calculating the overall revenue opportunity that is available to your product or service if 100% market share was achieved. Once calculated, estimate the Serviceable Available Market (SAM) which is the volume of customers who are ready to buy goods or services in your market segment. Subsequently, calculate the percentage of SAM that is realistically obtainable, this is referred to as the Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM).

This process can be undertaken through a top-down or bottom-up approach.

Top Down

Use macroeconomic, industry and financial market analysis and data to help you determine how many customers there may be in your market of choice.

Bottom up

Use customer lists, trade associations, and other sources of customer information to help you determine how many customers there may be in your market of choice.

To increase your chances of success, target a market that has a favourable SOM, and is trending in favour of both current and future demand for your product or service.

OpenView, a venture capital firm that provides expansion stage funding to software companies, has put together a detailed presentation on how to size your market opportunity. To access this presentation, click here.

In addition, you should consider whether or not your intended market meets the operational requirements of your business. For example, does your intended market have the necessary infrastructure and labour supply, as well as legal and regulatory environment for you to operate efficiently and effectively?

The following should be considered when assessing and comparing potential overseas market opportunities to pursue:

  • Economic growth outlook
  • Political outlook
  • Industry structure, trends and forecasts as they relate to your product or service
  • Technology industry structure, trends and forecasts (for example, cloud computing, IoT, AI, technology adoption, and data privacy and regulation)
  • Demographic profile
  • Consumer demand and behaviours
  • Existing customer base and strength of in-market presence
  • Strategic partnerships (current and future)
  • Operational requirements and risks associated with labour, infrastructure and utilities, production and supply chains, logistics, machinery and technology, IP protection, etc.
  • Legal and regulatory barriers

A startup community (both in Australia and abroad) is a valuable source of information when taking your product or service global. It can help you identify partners, customers and investors, as well as provide market insights and learnings from a network of businesses and individuals with practical in-market experience. It is also a great way to connect to mentoring opportunities and to learn about the challenges others faced when taking their product or service overseas, as well as how those challenges were overcome. Use industry and government networking events, social media, startup accelerators, as well as angel investor and venture capital sites to discover startup communities.

As mentioned in Determine whether you’re ready to go global, it is important that you begin to build your network through engaging not only the startup and business community, but also industry associations, local government, and chambers of commerce. Startup Grind is the largest independent startup community, actively educating, inspiring, and connecting more than 1,500,000 entrepreneurs in over 500 chapters around the world. The company nurtures startup ecosystems in 125 countries through events, media, and partnerships with organizations like Google for Startups, a platform that provides tools and advice, as well as community related offerings, such as coworking spaces, accelerator programs, and events. The cornerstone of Startup Grind’s global community is its monthly events featuring successful local founders, innovators, educators and investors who share lessons learned on the road to building great companies.

As mentioned in Identify grants and funding opportunities, Austrade is currently running its Landing Pads program in San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Shanghai, Berlin and Singapore. Landing Pads Alumni and Startup Bootcamp Workshop participants are listed on the Austrade Landing Pads program website. These participants are a valuable source of information and a great way for you to begin networking in-country.

For more information, please visit:

Design thinking and digital canvas company, TUZZit, has put together a Business Model Canvas to help companies develop new or existing business models. It is a one-page tool composed of 9 elements describing a company’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances, and can be used to help you select your overseas market, along with a number of the other key considerations included within this guide.

When assessing and comparing potential overseas market opportunities, it is important that you obtain information and data from credible sources. The list below is a great place to start. 

BMI Research

BMI Research provides macroeconomic, industry and financial market analysis. Company specific information is also available.

Statista

Statista is an online statistics, market research and business intelligence portal.

International Monetary Fund and World Bank

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank publish research and analysis on economic developments and prospects for countries across the globe.  

Export Finance Australia

Export Finance Australia is the Australian Government’s export credit agency. In addition to export finance solutions, Export Finance Australia also provides practical information for companies wanting to take their product or service global.

Austrade

Austrade has put together market profiles for over 80 countries. These profiles highlight industry-based trends and opportunities, and offer practical and operational information on doing business in – and exporting to – international markets.

Austrade and the Aussie Founders Network (AFN) have also produced a podcast series that features successful Australian entrepreneurs, innovators and industry experts with valuable insights on how to succeed in the US. This podcast provides Australian startups with a unique opportunity to get real advice from those who have done it before. Topics tackle elements of scaling an Australian venture overseas, from the initial question of ‘Should you go to the US?’ to the essentials of securing a visa, opening a bank account, building a team, and raising capital. Although this podcast focuses on the US, it is still a valuable resource for those who are thinking about expanding into other international markets.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

The Department of Foreign affairs and Trade provides country briefs, economic fact sheets, and trade and investment related information.


Case study

E agri 

"Each market has different drivers."
Nigel Blair, Founder

“It comes down to doing your homework; what are the key issues within your business, what are the issues you have to solve, particularly in markets like China, where they demand scale”, says Nigel Blair of E Agri, an indoor vertical farming business. Nigel founded E Agri in 2016 in Melbourne, responding to global concerns surrounding food safety and production, and the subsequent rise in population and health related issues.

Blair grew up on a farm and knows the challenges of farming, so he looked for solutions which could intensively grow food like no other. A global scan of vertical cropping systems was undertaken from North America to Japan, Europe and Israel. E Agri deployed engineers to inspect and analyse existing systems in order to develop a solution that was globally scalable, meeting the needs of mass production and using minimal energy and land.

What resulted was a modular system that incorporates an Internet of Things (IoT) approach to vertical farming, including a central command and control centre in Melbourne which analyses each site across the globe through a cloud system. A facility was also planned in Jiangsu in China on a 80,000 square metre site that will read the data, alert to any problems, account for plants and allow for full traceability.

Blair then set about looking at global markets to determine where to head next. “Each market has different drivers. Cost is not the only driver in China or India, they want safe, fresh and volume food at a cheap price”. Singapore was a natural fit for the business, given the low levels of food production, government support for the AgTech sector and requirement for fresh food produced on an industrial scale.

China has proven to be a valuable market for the startup, but the issues and drivers are different. “Scalability is critical to success. Know the market and understand the core of your business”, says Blair. “E Agri is essentially a procurement company with turnkey plant growing systems. Be smart about where to locate your company, look down all the paths and identify potential bottlenecks in the supply chain”. As access to steel is location specific and critical for E-Agri, an assessment was made of the steel structures required in China, and E Agri considered the volume and costs of shipping steel and identified a special economic zone close to key steel manufacturers. “Be on top of your distribution, look at online platforms and be prepared for a massive roll out fast. This will also help protect your intellectual property beyond the patent and trademark registrations”.

Currently, E Agri is focused on a joint venture in the special economic zone of Bintan, Indonesia, with an entity which already has significant food interests and distribution networks across the region.