It has been said that in the past decade with the advent of the Internet and social media – the world has become much smaller. What might have been impossible to do in the 1970s or 80s without significant costs – such as contact with customers overseas — can now be done with a simple email or internet transaction. That is one of the many reasons the Small Business Administration (SBA) has implored U.S.-based small businesses to consider “going global” and exploring exporting to international markets. Merchant cash advances are a popular tool for companies seeking to expand their global footprint and compete internationally.
The SBA says that 96% of consumers live outside the U.S. and that two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power is in foreign countries. If you sell products nationally – going international may not be that much more of a stretch. Here are some facts from the SBA that you might consider:
Make sure you are ready: Export.gov can help to determine if your small business is ready to take the giant leap into another time zone where you might need a passport. The questionnaire on this site will help you ascertain your company’s ability to sell or to do business in foreign markets. In addition, there are a number of facts to help you get ready if more work needs to be done to get to that an important stage for your business’ lifecycle.
Get Help: The good news – you don’t have to make this leap into the international world alone. According to the SBA, there are experts in your area ready to help you go from regional or national to international. There are the U.S. Export Centers and Trade Specialists to offer advice within your industry. The SBA advises, “The U.S. Commercial Service provides a network of export and industry specialists located in over 100 U.S. cities and 80 countries. These professionals provide free counseling and a variety of services to assist small and midsized U.S. business export efforts.”
U.S. Trade and Development Agency: This is an important fact – you must be in the database with this organization. According to the SBA, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency or USTDA and provides a database of companies and individuals providing fee-based consulting services to small businesses interested in importing and exporting. The “…USTDA reserves 100% of the agency’s desk study and definitional mission contracts for small businesses. These contracts provide technical advice to USTDA staff so that they may evaluate potential investments in feasibility studies and other project planning services,” writes the USTDA on their website.
Create a Business Plan and Do Some Studying Up: The SBA provides a number of resources for small businesses planning to do business overseas. The SBA advises, that in additional to training and consulting services, the business plan is a road map that should not be ignored: “Creating an export business plan is important for defining your company’s present status, internal goals and commitment. You learn how to develop an export plan by assembling facts, identifying constraints and setting specific goals and objectives as milestones to success.”
Do the Research and Find the Buyers: While going international takes much planning and learning, small businesses must also look at finding possible buyers. In addition, attending industry trade shows is where international customers might also visit to do some initial meet and greets and much more.
Find the Money: Another aspect to going global is the ability to expand financially. to help your company finance its transactions and assist in carrying your export operations. Working capital loan approval can be as simple as contacting a finance company that specializes in lending solutions for small business. These resources help small businesses ensure foreign payment and manage or remove risk from the equation for both the business and its bank.”