This post is courtesy of Frederick Baehner, president of IBNewsmag, a publication covering international business for Midwestern companies. Subscribe for free at IBNewsmag.
Exporting boosts overall sales for small and entrepreneurial companies. Research shows that the greatest barriers to exporting are not knowing where to begin and not knowing the resources available for assistance. Here are 10 tips to help you get started.
- Do you have an exportable product or service? Look at your product line. Do you have a product that could fill an international need? Have you had inquiries from international buyers?
- Who can help? The Small Business Administration, the Small Business Development Center network and the local U.S.Export Assistance Center are great places to start.KCSourceLink has an entire section of the website dedicated to exporting resources.
- Test the waters. Attend a trade show here in the United States or register for a Futurallia Globla Business Form. Find events at www.kcsourcelink.com orwww.IBNewsMag.com.
- Pull together a brief international sales plan. Describe what you intend to export, your competition, your experience in exporting and a proposed distribution plan.
- Scout out financial help if needed. Talk with a banker about SBA loans for exporting or the local SBA office.
- How to qualify international business prospects. Ask your local U.S.Export Assistance Center for help.
- Develop drop dead writing and design skills for marketing materials. Cultures, language and business strategies vary by country. If your prospect doesn’t speak English, you may want to bring in a qualified translator or interpreter.
- How to be certain of getting paid. Selling internationally has risks. One sure way it to collect funds by wire transfer before you manufacture.
- Getting your goods to the international buyer. Due to the growing number of free trade agreements, many barriers to trade are gone. An experienced freight forwarder can be a key partner.
- If you designate a distributor or agent, make sure they perform. Interview distributors carefully and visit them if you can. Before considering an exclusive arrangement, make them prove themselves.
To read the entire set of tips, go to www.IBNewsMag.com.
Content contributed by Kate Pope Hodel, MOSourceLink which is a proud affiliate of U.S. SourceLink, America’s largest resource network for entrepreneurs.