What should I consider when making the decision to begin exporting and how do I begin?

There are many ways to become involved in exporting, from filling orders for domestic buyers (such as export trading companies that then export the product) to exporting products yourself. However you choose to export, the development of a detailed and thorough strategy is an important part of the planning process. Steps in developing a strategy include:

  • evaluating your product’s export potential ;
  • determining if you are really willing to make a commitment to international markets and evaluating whether your company is “export-ready”;
  • identifying key foreign markets for your products through market research;
  • evaluating distribution and promotional options and establishing an overseas distribution system;
  • determining export prices, payment terms, methods, and techniques;
  • familiarizing yourself with shipping methods, export documentation procedures, export financing, and other requirements for exporting.

The Trade Information Center (TIC) trade specialists can help your company analyze its export potential. The resources listed below are also available to help you better understand the export process and evaluate your company’s export-readiness.

Export Education Events

Information on export education events can be obtained through Department of Commerce Export Assistance Centers, state trade offices, and private trade associations. A comprehensive list of Export Assistance Centers located in our near your state is available at http://www.buyusa.gov/home/us.html.

Assistance Establishing a Business

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has established a nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) to provide information and advice to beginning entrepreneurs. To locate the SBDC nearest you, call 1-800-U-ASK-SBA (1-800-827-5722) or visit the SBA website at http://www.sba.gov.

In addition, the SBA website covers a wide range of topics, including how to get started, develop a business plan, and locate sources of financing.

Finally, the SBA's Office of International Trade website at http://www.sba.gov/oit/info/index.html provides a number of resources for small businesses that are new to exporting. These include listings of SBA Development Centers, an online guide to exporting, information on export finance programs, and many others.

For further assistance, please contact the Trade Information Center:

Tel: 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) (1-800-872-8723)

Fax: (202) 482-4473

E-mail: tic@mail.doc.gov

Internet: http://www.export.gov