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U.S. Commercial Service Video Series Offers Window to Exporting, World Markets

November 1, 2016

Curt Cultice is a Senior Communications Specialist in ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service

Each year, our U.S. Commercial Service global network of trade professionals counsel thousands of small and medium-sized businesses on exporting. And based on this experience, we understand that the export process can be challenging for companies like yours. Perhaps you are looking to evaluate your export readiness, develop an export plan, or navigate the mechanics of exporting. You might even have some orders sitting directly in front of you.So no matter where you are in the export process, how best to become a successful, proactive exporter for the long-term?  Look no further, as the U.S. Commercial Service has developed a new set of “How to Export” resources including a series of themed export basics video shorts.

[Download the full video (16 MB)]

The first of six themes, Get Ready to Export!, consists of three videos and related resources that outlines in simple, animated detail, what businesses need to know about exporting:

  • Identifying each step of the export process
  • How to become export ready
  • Guidance on preparing a comprehensive export plan that includes determining potential markets, customers, pricing, and financing options.

As noted in the video, “A well-thought out export plan can make all the difference between generating a few international sales and achieving real business growth.”

Get Ready to Export! will be followed by five more export themes to be released on an ongoing basis through early 2017, as noted below:

  1. Get Ready to Export
  2. Plan Your Market Entry Strategy
  3. Find Foreign Buyers 
  4. Get Paid
  5. Make the Export Sale
  6. Navigate Your Export Market Successfully

Making the Case  

While many U.S. businesses are boosting their bottom line and competitiveness by making foreign sales, many have yet to do so. Only a small fraction of all U.S. companies export, and U.S. Department of Commerce data show that 59 percent of all current U.S. exporters sell to only one market. What are some reasons? For many companies, and especially smaller firms, exporting is often viewed as being too burdensome or ripe with pitfalls that might outweigh the potential for rewards, i.e., dealing with documentation and regulations or the risk of not being paid by the potential international customer.

In today’s global economy, the consequences of not looking beyond U.S. borders can directly impact your business’s long-term growth or success, as more than 95 percent of the world’s consumers are outside the United States. After all, if your business is not exporting, it’s highly likely your competitors—both foreign and domestic—are or will be selling internationally.

The  growth of emerging world markets, the rise of e-commerce, improved logistics options, and free trade agreements are among the major trends that has made exporting more viable than ever for even the smallest companies. In fact, Census Bureau data shows that 98 percent of U.S. companies that export are small- and medium-sized firms with fewer than 500 employees.

Looking at your business, there are some other attributes that might provide further incentive to explore exporting or expand current international sales. If your business has a good track record of selling in the United States, one of the world’s most open and competitive markets, it may also be a good candidate for selling into foreign markets. Also, if your firm has a web presence, you can look at customizing your website for global customers and taking advantage of e-commerce opportunities.

One of the most important things to know is that when it comes to exporting, your business doesn’t have to go it alone. The U.S. Government and its public and private sector partners provide a wide range of export assistance, starting with the U.S. Commercial Service’s global network of 108 offices across the United States and in U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 75 countries. For more information, visit http://www.export.gov.

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