Choosing a target market
Choose a market carefully and adapt your products to it accordingly. If necessary, apply for an international patent, trademark or design right.
Think about the choice of area in the wider context, giving your company the best chance of success. Think about the following:
- Have your competitors already entered the market over a broad area or is the competition still weak?
- Are there paying customers in the market as well as real demand for your company’s products?
- Could your company’s business operation adapt to the prices in the market?
- Is technology in the area and its infrastructure sufficiently developed?
- Would the laws, customs formalities, taxation practices and other regulations in the target country allow your company to operate profitably there?
- Can you exploit the EU’s and target country’s preferential tariff arrangements to reduce customs duties in the target country?
- What is the region’s business culture like?
Use the experts in your region’s business development company and Team Finland organisations to identify a market. To help you, also use the free Team Finland sales leads, reviews of business opportunities in different regions and of their prospects for change, and single country profiles.
Find out from the Finnish Customs foreign trade statistics how many similar products are already being exported to that country from Finland. The UN and Eurostat publish statistics on foreign trade for all countries.
If there is a number of suitable areas, arrange them in order of importance and phase your internationalisation plan with reference to it.
The Nordic countries work closely together and the conditions and practices that prevail in each country are similar. This makes it easy to expand into the Nordic market. Short distances and good transport links facilitate storage and shorten journey times, which cuts costs.
Trade with France and Denmark is within the EU, so there is no need for customs declarations. Find out about the customs and tax rulings for trade with EEA countries Norway and Iceland on a case-by-case basis. You will find a list of countries on the Finnish Customs (Tulli) website. Make use of the preferential tariff arrangements for trade with these countries too.
Furthermore, expansion into EU countries is fairly easy thanks to the principle of free movement. Normally no customs formalities are needed for goods manufactured in the customs and tax territory of the EU or goods declared there. In addition, many EU countries use the euro as their currency.
Familiarisation with a target country is required all the more, the less its culture, conditions and practices are similar to Finland’s. Outside Europe, it is especially important to find the right operators, actors and networks. If your company trades from Finland with somewhere outside the tax territory of the EU, you should also see about tax declarations.
The local consumer culture, language and business practices will mean your company’s product will have to be adapted to the requirements of the target country’s market. Pay attention, for example, to
- your company’s name and the name of your product
- packaging and colours
- package labelling
- the necessary certificates and quality standards
- why and how your product is to be used
- your product’s price
- how visible your company and products are in local communication channels.
In product development, you may make use, for example, of the business development services offered by ELY Centres, Business Finland funding and the tools provided by the Finnish Patent and Registration Office.
Adopt an auxiliary business name for your company if its official name is awkward or the product differs from your main line of business. You may also sell your product abroad using a different trademark. You can receive advice from the Patent and Registration Office.
If your product has a patent for Finland, apply for an international patent for it for the target country via the Patent and Registration Office.
You can obtain financing for product development from Business Finland or the ELY Centres, for example.
If you need an international patent, trademark or design right, use the services of the Patent and Registration Office.
You can apply to the Patent and Registration Office for an international patent for more than a hundred countries with just one application. If you need a patent urgently, you can request the fast-track process.
If you want to double check your right to use your product’s logo abroad, apply to have it registered as a trademark in the area you want. The instructions are available from the Patent and Registration Office.
If you want to double check your right to your product’s design in a certain area, apply for design right registration in the area you want. The instructions are available from the Patent and Registration Office.
Different charges apply to applications for patents, trademarks and design rights.
You can obtain funding for patent-related investigations and surveys and for acquiring patents from Business Finland, for example.