Exporting can defined as:
- Selling goods in foreign markets as a way to earn profits
- Any transfer of products or services from one country to another.
Did you know that nearly 96 percent of consumers live outside the U.S. and two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power is in foreign countries? Go where the customers are! There is significant opportunity for small businesses to profit through exporting.
In other words, are you ignoring 96% of your potential customers by not exporting your products or services?
Today globalization has made all but impossible to ignore the impact that exporting and importing are having for companies in a worldwide basis. While twenty years ago only large companies or those willing to take the perceived risks engaged in the business of exporting, today anyone from the largest corporations such as Apple, GE, GM, and others; to the smallest individual can export their products and services all over the world.
Exporting can be one of the best ways to grow your business:
- Grow your bottom line.
- Smooth your business cycles.
- Use production capabilities fully.
- Defend your domestic market.
- Increase your competitiveness in all markets.
When considering going or expanding your business into exporting, one of the primary questions that everyone may ask themselves is:
Do I have anything that I can export?
Many people or even organizations may ask themselves if they have any products or services that can be exported, and that’s one of the major obstacles to the development of an export business strategy. Exporting can not be limited to a specific set of products or services, but it can be developed to meet almost every potential need that a market may have. Exporting is also just a natural progression for companies that are expanding, and are looking for new markets for their products.
When we talk about exports they can be separated into two primary classifications products, and services.
Products are those articles or substances that are manufactured or refined for sale, and can encompass all of the tangible articles that we can see, touch, or feel as part of our daily life. Identifying which specific products can be exported could be a daunting task since it could be pretty much anything and it is easier to list some of the industry segments that you may have not thought were exported from the U.S* (quantities in millions of dollars):
- Artwork/Antiques ($3,034)
- Basketware ($8,360)
- Clothing ($3,197)
- Fish ($4,223)
- Diamonds ($2,862)
- Metal scrap ($28,366)
- Industrial machinery ($46,754)
The service sector it is not only the largest sector of the U.S. economy, but the only one where the U.S. holds the first place on a worldwide basis. Services can be exported in many ways, from direct services export, to services support for existing product exports, and over two thirds of U.S. exporters are non-manufacturers. Some of the most successful export industry segments include:
- Architectural and Construction
- Banking and Finance
- Consulting and Training
- Information Services
- Professional Business Services
From the list of products and services that can be exported, we can say that almost every individual or company may identify a product or service that could be successfully exported. From individual services such as translation, grammar checking, accounting, marketing, or consulting; to products such as baskets, art, and heavy industrial machinery almost everyone can benefit from participating in the export business.
So considering these factors the question may be:
Can you afford not to export?
Can you avoid exporting, that’s a tough question. If you have any skills or make any products that can be exported, then we can consider that:
- Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States. That is a lot of potential customers to just ignore.
- Foreign competition is increasing domestically. To be truly competitive, companies must consider opening markets abroad.
- Exporting is profitable. In fact, 60 percent of small companies that engage in exporting derive 20 percent of their annual earnings from exports.
- Exporting helps businesses learn how to compete more successfully.
Our next article in the exporting series will address the topic: How do I know if exporting is for me?.
* Quantities in millions of dollars from the US. Exports and General Imports 2000-2010
- Export Leaders applications being taken (mysanantonio.com)
- Florida exports rise 3.6% in November (bizjournals.com)
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