Dear M & M: I keep hearing about opportunities to sell overseas, exporting is just for big companies, why should I care? – Joan
Here are a few myths busted by the SBA. Myth: Exporting is only for large firms. In fact 97 percent of all firms exporting in the U.S. are small firms with 30 percent of all sales. Remember 95 percent of the world population with 90 percent of the world’s purchasing power is outside our borders.
Myth: Exporting only applies to products. Wrong. U.S. exported services more than doubled in the last 10 years. In 2014 annual services exports hit an all-time high of $710.3 billion, led by increases in the travel, transport, charges for the use of intellectual property, and financial services sectors.
Exports from these sectors were all record highs in 2014. The trade surplus (exported more than imported) in services exports reached a record $231.8 billion, an increase of 2.9 percent from 2013. – U.S. Department of Commerce. Myth: Small companies don’t need to export when demand in their domestic market is strong.
Your overseas competition is or will be trading in your domestic market. Meeting your competition in their backyard will better prepare you to succeed in other global market opportunities. Companies that export are less likely to go out of business as they are not reliant on market conditions in only one marketplace.
If you are doing well in your domestic market chances are there is demand overseas for your product or services. Myth: If I sell overseas I will never get paid. There are many programs and tools to help to manage foreign currency risk or non-payment.
Various government agencies, international trade brokers and banks provide assistance from advance payment, to letters of credit or foreign receivables insurance to mitigate loss. Myth: Most companies interested in exporting have to go it alone.
The SBA has a vast array of agencies, programs and opportunities for assistance go to https://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/exporting-importing.
Locally, Cochise College Small Business Development Center can meet with anyone interested in exporting to determine your export plan and provide assistance from financing to training to one-on-one counseling. Call 520-515-5478 or email nortonr@cochise to schedule a time to meet with one of their international trade specialists.