One of the many things that we do at the Kansas SBDC is help small businesses assess options for growth and incorporate appropriate growth strategies. Participating in international trade, in particular on the export side, is one possibility that holds much potential for many small businesses in Kansas. Here are some reasons why small businesses, especially producers of products and services that can be delivered across national borders, should consider becoming exporters.
(1) Though only 1% of U.S. small business export, almost 98% of the 280,000 U.S. firms that export are small businesses. Small businesses can be successful in international markets!
(2) As global trade continues to grow – due to improved/increasing financing options, logistics resources, internet access, e-marketing platforms, global wealth, demand for goods, services and technologies and the long-term trend toward improved international trade agreements, – it is important for U. S. small businesses to be involved in global markets. 95% of the world’s consumers live outside of the U.S.
(3) Due to diversification of markets, firms that export strategically tend to better able than their counterparts to support jobs stability and jobs growth, pay higher wages, extend the life cycle of their products, services and technologies and ride out localized economic downturns.
(4) There are many resources available to help businesses that have the potential to export! Though being an exporter is easier than most people realize, it is not without risks or regulations. There are various sorts of compliance issues and other important considerations to be aware of –and not just at the U.S. end. Export out of one country equals import into another country. Exporters need to think about both ends of the equation. Fortunately, there are numerous resources available to help U.S. small businesses get started and mitigate risks so that they can grow through international trade. Areas of assistance include market research, connecting with potential buyers, international trade finance risk management, compliance issues, language translation, overcoming cultural barriers, classification codes, incoterms, documentation, and so forth.
- Foreign Trade – AES (US Census Bureau)
- CIA World Fact Book
- Bureau of Industry and Security
- U.S. Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (ITAR)
- Kansas Department of Commerce International Trade Representatives
- U.S. Commercial Service Gold Key Service
- World Trade Centers – WTCKC
- U.S. SBA Export Working Capital Program
- EXIM Bank
- Kansas Global Trade Services
Laurie Pieper, Ph. D., CGBP
Washburn University SBDC
America’s SBDC Kansas