Export / Import Information for Small Business Owners
Is Your Business Export Ready?
When choosing to take your business overseas to a foreign country, there
are several ways to export. Choosing what is right
for you is the most important decision you can make.
Factors involved with your domestic business will be
the same when you begin exporting: finances,
management, and logistics. Can you perform these
duties in both domestic and foreign markets
simultaneously? Do you have the staff needed to do
this work? Begin your decision process by examining
three best methods for exporting:
This method is the most financially rewarding and
profitable, but also the most expensive. A business
that chooses to export directly on its own must take
care of everything from marketing to sales,
warehousing and shipping. Some businesses that are
large domestically find it easy to begin exporting,
by simply creating another branch of their business
to operate overseas. These businesses can set up a
dedicated office with trained staff specifically to
deal with the exporting aspect of their company.
Direct exporting can be the focus of a start-up or
emerging company as well, but of all the methods it
is the most difficult to begin with. Direct
exporting demands a large investment, but will
return more profit, as the financial control is left
in the hands of the business itself.
You may choose to hire an agent to set up your
exporting business. The advantages of using an agent
are that you have a professional on your team who
already has experience exporting, and may also carry
a list of contacts which can get an exporting
business started. A possible mistake, however, could
be leaving your exporting decisions to an agent who
is not capable, so make sure you check your sources
when looking for one. An agent will sometimes have
products and buyers ready to buy, which is a great
benefit to get started.
There are groups of businesses whose market is
exporting, and these groups are known as "export
consortiums”. You can find and connect with these
groups and members of these groups at industry trade
shows. Some of these trade shows may be held in the
foreign country you are interested in exporting to,
so it's a good idea to visit that particular
country. The single most advantageous aspect of
joining a trade consortium is that you can find
assistance in several different factors of your
business. A consortium may be able to offer you help
in shipping, or finding foreign buyers, or simply
finding office staff. A consortium may even be
looking for another business member who manufactures
a component of their exported product.
In the end, the best way to start out would be to
blend all three methods mentioned above. You could
choose to export directly with a product you already
make, hire an agent to find you a market for that
product in the United States, and join an export
consortium to find a logistics company with a proven
track record with other exporters. The best method
for exporting is the combination you choose to make
your business efficient and profitable.
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Getting Started with Exporting
Government Export Assistance