Exporting for Small & Medium Sized Enterprises
This guest post was written by Camille, Intern at the NEC/SPUR. She is currently a full-time student at St. Olaf College.
So, you hear the word “export” and immediately think, too much work and not enough rewards for your business. Certainly the exporting process can seem a bit daunting for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) who do not have the resources to hire an export compliance staff and an export strategist, fortunately enough there are governmentally funded resources established just for you!
If you look at where consumption is growing in the world, you’ll notice immediately that the U.S. is not a leader. Most of global consumption is growing outside of U.S. borders, which begs the question; can U.S. SMEs survive off of strictly domestic consumption?
Where to Start?
Canada and Mexico both offer great export opportunities for U.S. SMEs. Their location makes freight transportation reasonably priced, and as part of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), there are no additional tariffs on your goods. It’s important to make realistic exporting goals, and then further expand into the global market! The U.S. Commercial Service as part of the International Trade Administration under the Department of Commerce is a federally funded agency that can help your company begin its export process. Domestic Export Specialists can help identify which markets would be good for your product as well as collaborate with their Commercial Service colleagues overseas to find the right trading partners for your business. They offer free assistance and a few low-cost services that can lead to great exporting opportunities.
Resources for You
If you have any questions about where to begin, start by checking out export.gov. On that site, the U.S. Commercial Service offers many informative articles, webinars, as well as country specific trade information catered to many common export questions. Consider getting in contact with your local U.S. Commercial Service Office to see what opportunities they have for your business. Additionally, there are many state-based programs designed to help small businesses export. For example, Minnesota’s STEP Export Assistance for Small Business is another great introductory exporting resource. More information can be found on the links below.
Exporting offers great opportunities for businesses of any size! By utilizing the information and assistance provided through the government, your business could be selling product around the world in no time.
Links for more information: