The first stage in export planning is to investigate the market and the various reasons to consider exporting to customers. This article details the value in trillions of dollars that U.S. total exports hold and explains some of the reasons why small-to-medium sized businesses are in a good position to leverage selling to overseas markets.
Last Published: 3/12/2018

Are you looking to make your first export sale or expand into new foreign markets? Each year, thousands of U.S. companies boost their bottom line and competitiveness by meeting world demand for innovative, quality, made-in-USA products and services. You can too, with a good export plan. When it comes to making new export sales, businesses often have several questions, among which are the most common: 

  • Is my product in demand?
  • How do I find foreign buyers?
  • How would I get paid?
  • What is required to ship goods?
  • Where do I start? 

The Export Process Overview, the first of three videos in the Get Ready to Export set, provides an initial roadmap to exporting while introducing topics covered throughout the U.S. Commercial Service’s six-themed videos series. 

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The World Is Open for Business—Your Business

While the U.S. exports some $2 trillion in goods and services to world markets annually, there is vast opportunity to increase both the number of U.S. exporters and the markets they are selling to— particularly among small and medium-sized firms. 

Here are just a few reasons to pursue export sales: 

•    Demand.
More than 95 percent of the world’s consumers are outside of the United States. Your competitors are increasing their global market share, and you can too.
•    Access.
Exporting doesn’t have to be burdensome. The Internet, improved logistics channels, free trade agreements, eCommerce, and the array of available export assistance through the U.S. government and its partners has made exporting more achievable; that’s true for even the smallest businesses.                       

•    Profitability.
Exporting can be profitable for businesses of all sizes. On average, sales grow faster, more jobs are created, and employees earn more than in non-exporting firms.   
•    Competitive Advantage.
The United States is known throughout the world for high quality, innovative goods and services, customer service, and sound business practices.  
•    Risk Mitigation.
Most companies that export have an easier time riding out fluctuations in the U.S. economy and are more likely to stay in business.  
•    Export Resources.
U.S. companies can benefit for U.S. government resources and its state and local partners. For example, the U.S. Department of Commerce has a global network of U.S. Commercial Service offices in 108 U.S. cities and U.S. Embassies and consulates in more than 75 countries; and through the U.S. Export-Import Bank and Small Business Administration, businesses can leverage export financing.        

For more information on why you should export and export planning, see Chapter 1 and 2 of A Basic Guide to Exporting.

Prepared by the International Trade Administration. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting

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