Before You Export, Get On-the-ground Help

Every year during the third week of May, the President of the United States announces World Trade Week. During this week trade organizations, businesses, and other stakeholders work together both nationally and locally to promote international trade in the U.S. economy.

So what are the international trade and exporting topics you should consider in your small business?  For starters, 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States.  Think about that for a moment.  Even more surprising?  Only one percent of U.S. based small businesses are selling to those customers.  Exporting is a huge opportunity to extend the reach of made-in-America goods and services internationally. It allows you to expand your global market share.

The opportunity to expand your business through exporting is ready and waiting. But before you export, here are some resources right here at home that can help your business take the next step.

Before you Export consult an Export Assistance Center

Consulting a U.S. Export Assistance Center can be a great way to learn more about how you can expand your business internationally.  Each assistance center employs professionals from organizations including the SBA, the Department of Commerce, the Export-Import Bank, and other public and private organizations. They work together to help small and mid-sized businesses compete in today’s global marketplace.

Use the National Export Initiative before you Export

In an effort to grow America’s economy, create more jobs at home and ensure long-term, sustainable growth, the President launched a government-wide strategy to promote exports. The National Export Initiative (NEI) is a key component of that strategy. A Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in your area can provide one-on-one counseling. They also offer a wide range of training programs for small and medium sized companies that are exporting (or thinking of exporting.)  Check this link to find the SBDC closest to you. Its advisors can outline free business counseling and low-cost training services available in your area.

Other Tools and Resources you may Want to Consider before you Export 

If your business is ready to explore the possibility of exporting, here are a few additional resources that can help:

Once you’ve decided on your general roadmap for exporting (you’ve already explored foreign markets, developed a marketing plan, and evaluated financing,) the Export Business Planner will help you create a customized plan for the path ahead.

Adapted from “Before You Export, Get On-the-ground Help” by Sarah Field published on

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