Multiple MarketsExporting to more than one market
Why don't More Small Companies Export to More than a Single Market?
One reason is fear. It’s not very fear inducing to sell to a buyer in Canada who seems not so far away, speaks the same language, and operates under a similar legal system. Croatia or Myanmar are perceived to be more risky. But are they? Many U.S. companies are doing good business there now. In general, their “secret sauce” boils down to careful planning, relying on assistance provided by government export promotion agencies, good basic business fundamentals including excellent customer service, and a willingness if needed to get on a plane to visit a prospective customer.
The opportunity for selling into a single region, such as Central America, and taking advantage of free trade agreements is substantial. The help available and discussed in this book can quickly expand your thinking—and your sales—from one market to many.
In choosing from among these channels, markets, and countries, what’s the best strategy for your business? There’s help for that too—from private consultants, from your home state and local U.S. government sources, from the web. And much of the help is free or costs very little. It is easy to access, easy to use.
Think of this help as your Global Entrepreneurship Ecosystem (GEE). According to The World Is Your Market: Exporting Made Easier for Small Businesses (Braddock Communications, 2013), your GEE is a social network of key contacts that can help you grow your international sales.
Your GEE Checklist
• Local U.S. Commercial Service office
• Regional Ex-Im Bank office
• Freight forwarder/customs broker
• World Trade Center • Port Authority
• Chamber of Commerce • State office of international trade
• A university business school
• Mayor’s office/Sister City program
• Small Business Development Center
• International logistics company
• Other relevant companies or organizations
A GEE might consist, for example, of your local Chamber of Commerce, your local World Trade Center, a university with an international business department, some Small Business Development Centers, the U.S. Commercial Service, a bank with international experience, and your state’s office of international trade. Just to name a few. Social networking websites, such as LinkedIn, also have international trade groups and are worth considering.
If what you read so far comes as a surprise—particularly that exporting is relatively easy, as is expanding the markets you sell to from one to many, even for very small businesses, and that there are scores of local yet worldly folks ready to help you succeed—then you are not alone. The people whom we interviewed for the case studies in this book—like many potential exporters— say that their number one need starting out was for more basic information on how to export. The greatest information needs are how to choose the best markets for their products and services and to meet people to purchase them.