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Small Business Exporting: A Prescription for Economic Recovery

boxesThe recession has taken a toll on the health of the global economy. But recent reports from companies and the government indicate the economy is starting to emerge from the downturn.

Today is the start of National Small Business Week and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is hosting a conference in Washington, D.C.  As a proud supporter of this conference, UPS is sponsoring an Exporting Forum featuring a panel discussion on global trade opportunities.

Expanding into international markets has long been recognized as a path to business growth. Yet for many companies, doing business in another country can seem intimidating and complicated. Unfamiliarity with language and culture, currencies and tariffs, business practices and laws — these are just a few of the issues that can keep companies on the sidelines.

The New York Times recently reported that less than 1% of American companies export. For small businesses that do participate in international trade, the SBA found that 20% report being more productive and these companies produce 20% greater job growth than non-exporters.

At UPS, we conduct a yearly survey to gain insights from small- and medium-sized business exporters. This year’s survey offered some compelling reasons for exporting:

  • 53% said they don’t find the process involved with exporting frustrating
  • 35% indicate that exporting had a significant impact on their overall sales
  • Benefits of exporting can increase over time – companies who’ve exported more than five years say it has had more of an impact on sales compared to companies who are newer to exporting

Still looking for another reason to export? According to a 2010 small business exporting study from the Computing Technology Industry Association, 86% of the study participants reported their export sales are growing faster than their domestic sales.

Here are a few resources to help businesses get started:

  • The U.S. Commercial Service helps companies connect with overseas vendors, customers and financing assistance for exporting. You can find a list of state offices and representatives at compass.ups.com.
  • Canada, Vietnam and Brazil each present unique opportunities for trade. UPS offers market guides to prep small businesses on market facts, business etiquette, case studies and insights from trade experts.
  • The International Trade Administrative (trade.gov) offers guidance, information and tools that make it easier for companies to navigate trade logistics in overseas markets.
  • In July, UPS will launch a series of six “How To” export seminars featuring Jim Beach and Chris Hanks, the co-founders of The Entrepreneur School. Attendees will learn practical approaches for expanding to international markets. The seminars are planned for Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, San Jose and Dallas.

Be sure to visit upside later this week to read a recap from the National Small Business Week Exporting Forum.

Category: Business Insights, Global Impact
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