If you’re a small business owner looking for a new avenue toward increased sales and profit, exporting could the next logical step for your business. Exporting can reduce a business’s dependence on the domestic market and help businesses remain stable during seasonal fluctuations. And believe it or not, 96 percent of consumers live outside of the United States.
An enormous amount of the world’s purchasing power is beyond our borders. This leaves your business with a significant opportunity to expand its global market share by extending the reach of its goods and services internationally.
Exploring Exporting for Small Business
Before you get started, you might find yourself asking the following questions:
- How do I determine my business’s export readiness?
- Where can I find training and counseling?
- How can I secure global market research?
- What are my financing options?
- What should my exporting plan look like?
Depending on the questions you have, you’ll want to follow a step-by-step process to stay organized. Typically, the process involves, but is not limited to, research and training, finding buyers, and selecting the financing options that are best for your business.
Additionally, if you are located near a major metropolitan area, there is probably a U.S. Export Assistance Center near you that can provide additional help – a resource you’ll definitely want to take advantage of if you’re just getting started.
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) in your area can also provide one-on-one counseling and a wide variety of training programs for small and mid-sized companies that are exporting or considering it.
SBDC advisors can outline free business counseling and low-cost training services available in your specific area. Find the SBDC closest to you.
If your small business is ready to pursue exporting, here are some additional resources that may help:
- Six Steps to Assess Your Small Business’ Readiness to Export (blog post)
- An Introduction to Exporting (30-minute online course)
- Export University (blog post that outlines a series of online courses focused on all stages of exporting)
Once you have your general road map for exporting in place, check out SBA’s Export Business Planner. It’s a free tool you can customize to your business to work through the critical processes of export readiness and planning. As your exporting business matures, you can update and reference the planner time and time again.
Is your small business already successfully exporting?
Shipyard Photo via Shutterstock
Exporting can be quite tricky if you’re new to it. I know another business owner who gone into this type of business and it was hard for her because of some problems she encountered with her employees.