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Going Global: Resources for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

A November 2011 survey released by SBE Council and the Financial Services Forum found that 21% of small firms plan to expand overseas in the next several years.

Total trade equaled more than 40 percent of U.S. economic growth from 2000 to 2008, and international markets are becoming increasingly important for the growth of small firms.  Small businesses are quite active in international markets. According to May 2009 U.S. Census Bureau data:

• In 2007, 97 percent of U.S. exporters were small and medium-sized firms with fewer than 500 employees. These accounted for 30 percent of export value.

• Of manufacturers, 96 percent were small and medium-sized firms, accounting for 16 percent of sector’s export value.

• 99 percent of wholesalers involved in exporting were small and medium-sized businesses, accounting for 63 percent of sector’s exports.

• 97 percent of “other companies” involved in exporting were small and medium-sized businesses, accounting for 49 percent of the sector’s exports.

Right now may be the perfect time to research opportunities to go global.  The U.S. government, business organizations and leading corporations provide abundant “how to” resources – many that are free. Below you will find useful links to such resources and information that may assist you in your pursuit of selling your products or services overseas.  Please make sure to sign up for SBE Council’s enews, which brings you regular reports and alerts from the International Trade Administration on information and opportunities for your small business.

The United States currently has 20 trade agreements with other countries, which include the recently signed agreements with Columbia, Panama and South Korea.  Several other trade agreements are being negotiated.

NEW:  Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters is designed to help U.S. companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, learn the basics of trade finance so that they can turn their export opportunities into actual sales and achieve the ultimate goal of getting paid – especially on time – for those sales. Concise, two-page chapters offer the basics of numerous financing techniques, from open accounts, to forfaiting, to government assisted foreign-buyer financing.  The current edition of the Trade Finance Guide was published in November 2012. The complete Trade Finance Guide is available for download in PDF format

UPS

UPS Global Trade Portal:  This UPS resource site can help you navigate the complexities of going global. “Whether you’re new to the global marketplace or new to international shipping with UPS, you’re in the right place. Working with UPS can help you reduce the risk, complexity and cost of global trade.”

“It’s Time to Go Global: Small Businesses Now Have More Support than Ever,” by Dan Brutto, president, UPS International

Business Monitor Survey USA: The latest UPS survey of small business exporters  – their outlook and experiences in the global marketplace.

U.S. Small Business Administration:

Commerce, SBA Provide Online Tool to Help Small Businesses Begin Exporting: Small businesses interested in exporting now have a new online tool to help them tap into the global marketplace to grow their business. Developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration, Six Steps to Begin Exportingwww.export.gov/begin, is the latest tool in the National Export Initiative toolbox to help entrepreneurs begin exporting.

Small Business Guide to Exporting (FREE Online Resource): Sections include identifying international markets, foreign markets entry, export financing, strategic alliances and more. To access the guide, please click here.

Local SBA U.S. Export Assistance Centers:  The one-stop centers are located in major metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. and are there to provide your small- or medium-sized business with local export assistance.  Please click here.

Export Finance ProgramsSBA’s three specialized loan guaranty programs that help provide export financing, credit to close a sale, and funds for working capital.  Please click here.

SBDCNet: A comprehensive directory (with links) of international business, marketing and trade resources from the Small Business Development Center Network. Please click here.   

Export-U:  The U. S. Export Assistance Center in Atlanta and the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center international business webinar site.  The site is designed specifically for busy professionals who need quick answers to trade-related questions. The free webinar topics include: How to know if you are ready to export, Global market research, Costing and pricing, Commerce Department services, Payment terms, SBA export financing, and more.  To visit the site, please click here.

Export-Import Bank - Small Business Portal: An interactive guide for U.S. small business exporters. Please click here.

U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration (ITA):

U.S. Commercial Services:  The trade promotion unit of the International Trade Administration (ITA) will help you get started in exporting, or help increase your sales to new global markets. They have trade specialists in 107 U.S. cities and in more than 80 countries.  Services include: world class market research, trade events that promote your product or service to qualified buyers, introductions to qualified buyers and distributors, counseling and advocacy through every step of the export process.  To learn more about how the U.S. Commercial Service can help your company export, contact a U.S. Export Assistance Center near your or call 1-800-USA-TRAD(E).  Visit the website for additional information and resources.

A Basic Guide to Exporting:  Whether your firm is new to exporting or in need of a refresher on the latest ideas and techniques, this comprehensive guide, now completely revised and updated, provides the nuts-and-bolts information you will need to meet the challenges of today’s global economy. There is a charge for the guide. For more information, please click here.

Videos on Export Basics — View a NAFTA Certificate of Origin Prepared: Need to know how to complete a NAFTA Certificate of Origin, or comply with customs regulations for outbound shipments?  These are short videos that provide step-by-step instructions.  Save yourself time, money, and headaches by learning how to get your goods to the buyer.  Click here to view videos, and list of video options.

Other ITA Resources:

The Export Yellow Pages: Advertise worldwide free or upgrade to fee-based ads – online and in print.  More than 27,000 U.S. members are participating.  Browse company profiles free.   Accessible by clicking here.  New print edition available worldwide via U.S. Commercial Service network: http://www.export.gov/eac/index.asp

Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters: Discover the basic fundamentals of trade finance. Turn your export opportunities into sales that you get paid for and paid for on time.  The Manufacturing and Services unit of the International Trade Administration offers the guide by clicking here.

Learn about Exporting and Earn a Certificate of Completion:  Need to know more about export process, documentation, and how to start or increase your international sales?  Take this online course and get a certificate from the U.S. Commercial Service and the Rawls School of Business at Texas Tech University. Visit: https://docttuexport.ba.ttu.edu/

Trade Compliance Center: Are you facing foreign government trade barriers when exporting or investing abroad? The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Trade Compliance Center helps American exporters and investors overcome foreign trade barriers and works to ensure that foreign countries comply with their trade agreement obligations to the United States.  If companies have a question about investing overseas or need help addressing a foreign government trade barrier, complete the form at http://tcc.export.gov/Report_a_Barrier/index.asp  – it will be evaluated, and a response provided.

Customs Guidelines to Maximize Protection of Intellectual Property:  U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the European Union have developed a set of guiding principles for companies to better protect their Intellectual Property. These guidelines will help enhance U.S. and EU Customs Officers’ abilities to differentiate legitimate and illicit goods and to prevent illegal goods from entering the supply chain. Click here for your Adobe Acrobat file. (Guidelines)

Need Help with Standards? StandardsPortal aims to facilitate trade by helping companies better understand the market access and market acceptance requirements they face around the world.

Free Trade Agreement with Peru:  U.S. suppliers can now enjoy a significant price advantage over competitors in Peru.  Senior Commercial Officer John Simmons discusses opportunities and potential challenges in this podcast from his office at the U.S. Embassy in Lima.

U.S. Exports to Portugal:Portugal is a good market for U.S. exports and it’s comparatively easy to do business there. Building relationships there can lead to sales in other parts of Europe and also in Brazil, a former colony and one of the fastest growing markets in the world.  Listen to this podcast featuring U.S. Commercial Service Senior Commercial Officer Dillon Banerjee from the embassy in Lisbon.

Profiles for U.S. Exporters
On April 9, 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Commerce, released the report, A Profile of U.S. Exporting Companies, 2006 – 2007. The report contains information on U.S. exporters linked to export transactions. View the report by clicking here.

Commercial Service Global Design & Construction Team: For up-to-date market research, trade leads, and trade events in the design and construction related industries, visit the Design & Construction Products & Services E-Market Express.

Stats and Data:

TradeStats ExpressTM: The most up-to-date annual and quarterly trade data. You can retrieve, visualize, analyze, print and download your own customized output.  Please click here.

State Data (U.S.): A series of reports outlining the effects of international trade on all 50 states’ economic infrastructures. Please click here.

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