Curt Cultice is a Senior Communications Specialist for the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service.
For more than 75 years, A Basic Guide to Exporting has helped U.S. companies make their first international sale and grow their businesses through exporting. Now, with an 11th edition, you may ask, what’s different? I’ll give you a few examples.
In this new edition, there is expanded information on cross-border e-commerce and export controls, as well as a new chapter on rules of origin in Free Trade Agreements. This edition also provides updated content on creating export plans to strategically start or increase export sales. Good news for the many small- and medium-sized businesses who might be “winging” their current export sales.
Additionally, A Basic Guide to Exporting features all new case studies including “micro multinationals,” which are small U.S. companies that sell to buyers in 30 or more countries. For example, Chapter 3 profiles Pennsylvania-based Zeigler Bros., Inc., a firm that researches and develops foods for animal and aquatic diets. The company made an early strategic decision to boost its bottom line by doing business overseas and has never looked back. Today, Zeigler supplies 300 different products to 50 countries, with exports accounting for more than 50 percent of overall sales. In Chapter 3, the guide describes how International Sales Manager Chris Stock overcame the challenges the company faced when trying to sell internationally, including helping customers deal with localized issues such as diseases that affect fish species being farmed, finding reputable partners, and gaining an understanding of environmental regulations in the countries where the firm does business.
What are the keys to Zeigler’s export success? For one, the company focuses on markets that are perceived as being more risky than some others: Nigeria and Ghana in West Africa; Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia in Southeast Asia; and India and China. “Africa is on the cusp, I think. A lot of people see the opportunity, so it’s a great time to get in early, because it’s a huge emerging middle class that’s developing there with spending power,” said Stock. “They need things more than any other part of the world. They have a lack of access to some of the higher-tech products and things that the United States can offer.”
U.S. companies, particularly SME’s that are new to exporting, as well as those looking to expand their current export sales, will find this filly revise and expanded publication an invaluable tool.
Another solution for Zeigler is the U.S. Commercial Service, which helped the firm develop its export plan, and which Stock calls “a reliable go-to kind of hub.”
“In general, we come to them when we have export regulatory issues and we need somebody inside the government to guide us,” Stock added. “A big thing about exporting is realizing that you don’t know it all and that you’re always going to need support. The [U.S.] government has helped bring us into new markets. We went on a trade mission to Ghana when we were getting our Africa business warmed up and met people there that are clients now and important partners.”
This is part two in a series of four blog posts. Next week, in part three, we will provide a snapshot from A Basic Guide to Exporting on how to write an export plan.