Export: A Growth Area for Small Businesses



According to the U.S. Commercial Service, small businesses “have vast untapped export potential.” Despite the fact that many people associate international trade with large companies, big businesses make up only a small portion of U.S. exporters. Although fewer than 1% of U.S. businesses export, small to medium-sized businesses account for 98% of the number of U.S. businesses exporting. This should encourage small business owners who view the prospect of entering global markets as terribly daunting. Export is not just the purview of large firms. When managed properly, exporting can be advantageous to small businesses with respect to increasing their profitability, being able to expand their number of employees and pay more competitive wages, and also potentially minimizing risks due to with fluctuation in the U.S. economy. (More statistics about U.S. exporting can be found through the U.S. Census Bureau.)

Manufacturing and wholesale exporting are two arenas in which small and medium size businesses are engaged in exporting. It is not just products that can be exported, however. Due to advances in technology, services are a fast growing area for international trade. Travel and tourism, education, graphic design, environmental services, and professional services such as architecture and engineering are some examples of services that can be exported. (Read more about services exported.)  This is definitely something that service-based small businesses should consider.


Washburn University KSBDC is pleased to be bringing The Riddle of The Exporter training to Manhattan on July 28th. John Addessi, Certified Global Business Professional and Business Advisor with the JCCC KSBDC, will present important information that small businesses need for participating successfully in the export market. Topics covered include how to determine which markets to enter, how to handle financial arrangements and work with banks, how to figure out the best freight arrangements, how to manage cultural differences, and more. This seminar is a great introduction for businesses looking to enter the export market with their products or services. It is also an excellent resource for businesses already involved in exporting that are wanting a refresher course or are wanting to expand the knowledge base within their company.

Cost for the seminar (including materials and lunch) is $199. Register here.

STEP (State Trade and Export Promotion) Grants are available for qualifying businesses to help defray costs of attendance. For more information about applying for STEP Grants, contact our office at ksbdc@washburn.edu.

We would like to thank Commerce Bank in Manhattan and the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce for helping us to sponsor The Riddle of The Exporter training.


At the Washburn KSBDC, we provide training and advising on topics of importance to small business owners, including entering and managing export issues.


Laurie Pieper, Ph.D.

Business Advisor

Washburn University

Kansas SBDC

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