Proper exporting leads to long-term growth for businesses in the United States
Every year during the third week of May, the President of the United States announces World Trade Week, during which trade organizations, businesses and other stakeholders work together both nationally and locally to promote and facilitate international trade in the U.S. economy.
So why are international trade and exporting topics you should consider within the context of your small business? For starters, 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States. Think about that for a moment. Even more surprising? Only one percent of U.S. based small businesses are selling to those customers. Exporting is a significant opportunity to extend the reach of made-in-America goods and services internationally, expanding your global market share.
The opportunity to expand your business through exporting is ready and waiting – but before you go international, here are some resources right here at home that can help your business take the next step:
Export assistance centers
Consulting a U.S. Export Assistance Center can be a great way to learn more about how you can expand your business internationally. Each assistance center is staffed by professionals from organizations including the SBA, the Department of Commerce, the Export-Import Bank and other public and private organizations. Together, these professionals work to provide export assistance that helps small and mid-sized businesses compete in today’s global marketplace.
National export initiative
In an effort to strengthen America’s economy, support additional jobs here at home and ensure long-term, sustainable growth, the President launched a government-wide strategy to promote exports. The National Export Initiative (NEI) is an essential component of that strategy. A Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in your area can provide one-on-one counseling and an array of training programs for small and medium sized companies that are exporting (or thinking of exporting.) Check this link to find the SBDC closest to you – its advisors can outline free business counseling and low-cost training services available in your area.
Other tools and resources
If your business is ready to explore the possibility of exporting, here are a few additional resources that can help:
- Read Six Steps to Assess Your Small Business’ Readiness to Export (blog post)
- Take An Introduction to Exporting (a 30-minute online course intended to be a guide for small businesses to help determine if exporting makes sense and whether the basic ingredients for export readiness are in-place)
- Check out Export University (a collection of online courses designed to tackle all stages of exporting)
Once you’ve determined your general roadmap for exporting (you’ve already explored foreign markets, developed a marketing plan, and evaluated financing,) the Export Business Planner will help you create a customized plan for the path ahead.
Sarah Field is an author and moderator for the SBA.gov Community.