For a small business, exporting its products overseas can be scary; at least, initially. Because it’s undoubtedly a steep learning curve for most entrepreneurs who decide to broaden the reach of their business via international trade. But since exporting is the key to economic recovery during a recession and the chief reason for economic boom during the good times, the government encourages small businesses to speed up their growth through overseas sales. The government has always been promoting exports.
More good news: Exporting isn’t hard. It’s not been any faster and simpler to ship containers of your products overseas anytime during the last several decades. Additionally, there’s tons of help available as well.
The SBA Can Help You
You might be wondering: “Export? My company’s product? No chance.” Worried about currency exchanges, international law, regulations, and customs?
Regardless of how you want to pursue exporting, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and its team comprising 20 different federal agencies are willing to help you at each step. From the basics of exporting to financing and from finding new overseas customer prospects right up to closing the deal, you get help.
Get a Bargain Shipping Price
Since the US imports more merchandise than it exports, thousands of empty containers return overseas to be refilled with merchandise. Typically, over half the containers loaded onto a ship leaving the US for far-flung destinations are empty.
Metal cargo containers revolutionized the maritime industry after their introduction in the late 1950s. These containers act as independent storage units. So once your goods are loaded into a 20’ or 40’ cargo container, it can be switched swiftly between ships, trains, and trucks. A cargo container holds just about any consumer ware—cosmetics, computers, garments, frozen seafood, auto parts or shoes.
Exporting Goods from the US was Never This Easy
In today’s global economy, the exertion involved in transporting consumer wares between manufacturers, warehouses, retailers, and eventually consumers across continents is minimal. The scale and sophistication that the transportation of goods has undergone in the last decade alone is mind boggling. Ports in the US are equipped with the most well-organized, efficient, and swift container loading system.
There’s a limit to selling your products in your own backyard. Beyond this limit, it can be a tough proposition. Why not explore other markets, especially some lucrative ones? You could consider markets such as Spain, Hong Kong, Brazil, France, and others?
Any Small Business Can Export
Exporting isn’t only for big companies any longer because the Internet has made it simpler for you to reach customers, worldwide. Although there are unique hurdles such as, shipping, taxes and duties, currency conversion, packaging stipulations, marketing, etc., to overcome, they aren’t difficult for an entrepreneur who’s motivated to expand.
For instance, eDimensional Incorporated, a manufacturer of video gaming accessories, had fewer than 10 employees when they first tapped the overseas market in 2007. Today, the company generates approximately 40 percent of revenue overseas. Owners of the company say that they didn’t find too many challenges initially, except perhaps, the actual shipping costs. They were able to address this issue with their shipping company FedEx after their shipping volume increased.
Your Shipping Company Can Help You Ship Containers of Your Products Overseas Quickly and Smoothly
You can simplify things for your international clientele by including a currency converter on your business website. In a typical transaction, your customer will charge a purchase to a credit card. The card issuer then converts the purchaser’s local currency to US dollars before paying your company. Some shipping companies even act as the customs clearing agent for the nations where they deliver. The shipping companies collect the applicable taxes or duties and unburden the exporters of a potential headache.
Over time, eDimensional established business tie-ups with distributors in different nations. These distributors purchase its products in bulk and resell to retailers as well as end-users. If you want to locate distributors in other nations, just look up on the entities representing other enterprises in your industry. Ask them if they will deal with your products in their nation.
These distributors will provide you the information about labeling as well as packaging requirements in their market. It’s not worthwhile for you to undertake a full-scale marketing campaign in the nation you wish to export to. The costs are phenomenal. But shipping your products to distributors based in overseas markets is definitely worthwhile.
Your Products will be Picked up at Your Location
If you plan to export commodities or goods to a foreign buyer, inform your shipping company about the pickup location and also the destination city. A truck will arrive at the pickup location with an empty container. The truck will head to the assigned shipping dock after the container is loaded with your goods. Next, the container is shipped to the destination country after it is loaded onto a ship.
If your product is good, you can export it via containers. Don’t let your business size bother you. Big companies will always say to the small companies to learn their trade in the domestic market first before they consider export. But that simply isn’t feasible. If you want to achieve growth, you need to tap the overseas market.