Exporting is the process by which businesses from one country sell their goods and services to consumers or other businesses in a different country. For small businesses, exporting can elevate sales as well as provide many other benefits. With 95% of consumers living outside of the United States, global sales make up most of the consumer base.
According to the Congressional Research Service, 166,384 small businesses in the U.S. export, which is 26% of all U.S. exports in 2022.
Benefits of exporting your products include:
- Becoming more profitable
- Stabilizing season differences
- Defending your domestic market
- Increasing your competitiveness
- Growing the value of intellectual property in the case of licensing
- Widening your overall skillset
Create a plan for exporting your product
The process can be intimidating, so the first step you should take is to create a plan that outlines the process and schedule your milestones:
- List the products or services that will be exported
- Look into the export potential of the product
- Research potential countries of interest
- Come up with a pricing strategy
- Develop a strategy to find customers
A more in-depth outline for developing an export plan can be found on the International Trade Administration’s (ITA) website. The ITA also has A Basic Guide to Exporting, which provides the ins and outs of connecting your business to the global markets.
Assess your export readiness
Next step: assess your export readiness. Take the International Trade Administration’s full export readiness assessment and answer the following questions when determining your readiness:
- Do you have a product or service that has been successfully sold in the domestic market?
- Does your company management have the time and resources for the export process?
- Do you have a business plan that outlines your goals and strategies for exporting?
- Is there sufficient production capacity for an export market? Do you need to finance an expansion?
- Do you have the financial resources to manage an increase in sales in the overseas markets?
- Do you have U.S. and foreign Intellectual Property Protection?
- Are you capable of changing ingredients and packaging to meet foreign import regulations, cultural preferences and endure competition?
- Do you have a strong knowledge of shipping overseas? Can you identify and select international freight forwarders and recognize freight costs to ensure customs clearance?
- Do you have a strong knowledge of export payment methods, like letters of credit?
- Do you know and understand U.S. export controls and compliance?
TechTown Detroit is here to help
If you are ready to export and want to learn more, TechTown Detroit provides one-on-one guidance for entrepreneurs through our Ask an Expert program. Schedule a free appointment with one of our experts, or email our Entrepreneurial Education team at firstname.lastname@example.org.