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It’s Time for Women to Get Loud

March 30, 2021

Tricia Van Orden is Deputy Director of ITA’s Trade Promotion Coordination Committee Secretariat

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy. 

Make your voice – and your business – heard around the world. The International Trade Administration (ITA) is the only sound system you need. Did you know that women-owned businesses that export are, on average, 3.5 times more productive than women-owned business that don’t? What about the fact that women-owned businesses that export typically employ more workers, pay higher wages, and report higher-than-average sales? This means that women who export can drive growth and economic success.[1] With export experts in over 100 U.S. cities and in more than 70 countries around the world, we’ll amp up the volume, and international sales will sound like music to your ears. Read on for a guide to take your business global.

Silhouette image of women holding megaphone.

CHECK YOUR EXPORT READINESS AND DEVELOP A PLAN

  • Exporting is a great strategy to grow a business, but to grow smartly and purposefully, you have to dedicate time and resources. An initial assessment of your exporting needs and capabilities should be your first step.
  • Integrate exporting into your overall business plan. Once you’ve completed an assessment, an export plan helps you understand the facts, constraints, and goals around your international effort. Use it to create specific objectives, decide on implementation schedules, and mark milestones of your success.  It can also motivate your team to reach goals.

PLAN YOUR MARKET ENTRY STRATEGY

  • Start by doing research on potential markets. Free market research is available through the Country Commercial Guides and Top Market Reports.
  • Census data can be used to track where similar products are already being sold.
  • Check which countries have free trade agreements with the United States. These could potentially result in lower customs duty rates for your goods and could be an excellent first foreign market for your business.
  • If available, apply for funding from a STEP grant awardee in your State.

FIND FOREIGN BUYERS

  • Develop a global web presence. This may be the first point of contact between you and your buyer.
  • Participate in  a trade show. Trade shows are a great way to present your products and services to a wide audience, get trade leads, meet potential buyers or partners, do competition research, and leverage U.S. or state government support.  
  • Use match-making/international partner search services provided by the U.S. Government

GET PAID

  • Work with your bank for financing and insurance solutions.
  • Research methods of payment. Depending on your business and products you may be able to offer letters of credit or other payment options to your foreign buyers.
  • Research available financing options through the U.S. government and other private lenders.
  • Get bank references and background checks on potential foreign buyers. As with any business transaction, due diligence is essential.

ENSURE COMPLIANCE, RESEARCH FOREIGN TAXES AND TARIFFS, AND DETERMINE SHIPPING OPTIONS

  • If you haven’t already, determine if your product needs a U.S. export license. Thankfully most products don’t need one, but it is your legal responsibility to obtain one if necessary.
  • Check your documents. Different countries and markets require different documents to export. Some of these documents may certify that your product meets certain criteria while others will show unit price and insurance.
  • Shop around for the best shipping rates. Different companies have different rates and available services. Research the most cost-effective way to get your goods efficiently, securely, and legally to your new international customers.

Join the orchestra of women-owned companies that have struck their export chord, and let our worldwide network and subject-matter-experts help you pursue your goal for going global, whether it’s to begin exporting for the first time, to expand your current export operations, or to strategize overcoming barriers and breaking into new markets. Check out www.trade.gov or reach out to your local U.S. Export Assistance Center to find out how ITA can help you and your business strike the export chord that turns you into an Exporting Rock Star.


[1] http://www.intracen.org/publication/Unlocking-markets-for-women-to-trade/

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