But, can just any small business take advantage of this opportunity? Are some better suited than others? Here are six steps to help guide you on your decision making process about if exporting is right for your business and if it is, the correct way to proceed:
Step One: Assess Your Readiness
Do a little research about products similar to yours on the global market. What price points are they at? How does your product compare in specs and performance? Are you able to deliver a “better mousetrap” to the international market at prices that will actually be profitable?
Additionally – how prepared are you to meet the increased demand that opening up into new markets will create? Make sure you are setting your business up for success by getting into exports before doing anything else.
Step Two: Get the Proper Training
The next thing you’ll need to do is reach out to a local US Export Assistance Center where you can get all the material and help you need in order to prepare to engage in Export sales. There are US Export Assistance Centers in every major city in the US.
At the center, you’ll find all sorts of help from employees of the SBA, the department of Commerce, and the US Import-Export Bank as well as many other organizations whose sole purpose in being at the center is to provide resources to US businesses that want to engage in export business.
Step Three: Develop an Export Plan
The US SBA had developed an extremely helpful Business Planner that will help guide you through the specifics of gathering the information you will need developing and setting the goals you’ll need to achieve for success in the export market.
This planner will be a key resource in helping you determine the export options available to your business.
Step Four: Market Research
This is an extension of the first step. Now, instead of simply researching to see if the move is warranted, you need specific locations about the absolute best markets to expand into. Be sure to access the published information by the US government about which markets are best around the world. Be specific and determine the actual markets you will be selling to at this point.
Step Five: Locate Customers
You’ll now actually need to locate foreign buyers, such as retailers, etc. who will buy your products in the foreign market you are expanding into. There are a number of resources available to you at the local, state, and federal level to help with this. Be sure to enlist the help of your business attorney as well as your local US Export Assistance Center to leverage these opportunities.
Step Six: Check out the Export Financing Options Available to You
One of the best ways to ensure your export expansion is a success is to take advantage of the financial aid available to you designed to do just that – help make US business owners succeed more easily in international markets. Here are a few options you may not currently be aware of:
SBA Export Express
This program offers businesses as much as $500,000 to help launch an export division of their business. With approvals coming as quickly as 36 hours, it doesn’t take long to see if you qualify. Basic eligibility guidelines are:
- Have been in business for at least 12 months
- Be able to demonstrate the loan would support eligible export activity
SBA International Trade Loan Program
The ITL provides small businesses offers a variety of working capital, fixed asset, and debt refinancing in order to help any business that has been adversely impacted by import business. To be eligible, you must be able to demonstrate there is an export market you can move into and that your business has currently been negatively impacted by the import market.
Still have questions?
Please call us for a free appointment with Miami business attorney Yoel Molina in our Miami office at 305-548-5020.