Exporting as a way to boost business
For many businesses, discovering ways to get their products in front of a new audience is a necessary step to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic. What many entrepreneurs might not realize is that exporting goods to foreign countries might be a viable way to fill a gap in revenue.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the total U.S. trade with foreign countries was $5.6 trillion in 2019, with $2.5 trillion in exports and $3.1 trillion in imports of both goods and services. While the United States imports more than it exports, exportation can still be a useful way for businesses to attract and engage new customers.
Donna Simpson, a business consultant at The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center, specializes in helping SBDC clients determine if exporting is right from them. Ms. Simpson holds certification in international trade from NASBITE International, which is the leading authority and industry standard for global business education, trade credentialing, training and practice.
“I can provide information on exporting and then work with anyone interested to provide some basics on how to get started,” she said. “I try to get an idea of why the business would want to export, and then I work with them on their budgets to see if exporting would be helpful for their business. We then look at a list of countries they might want to export to or we try to match them up with countries that would align with the products they sell.”
One major aspect of exporting that Ms. Simpson tries to help her clients with is the various rules and regulations that need to be followed.
“The easiest countries to export with are the ones that have trade agreements with the United States, like Mexico and Canada,” she said. “They are great options because of their proximity to us, and people will look to them when they’re new to exporting to see if there’s anything they could do with one of those countries.”
Ms. Simpson explained that exporting can be a logical next step for businesses looking to expand their customer base, especially if they sell a product that can appeal across international boundaries.
“Exporting is a way to grow your business,” she said. “Not all businesses are suitable to exporting; for example, you can’t export a hair salon. But some of the ways exporting can grow a business include helping to grow your bottom line or helping to smooth out your business cycle. If you have slow months, you might be able to match that up to a country where their slow months are the opposite of yours. It also helps your business become more valuable.”
For more information on exporting, or to make an appointment with Ms. Simpson, visit www.scrantonsbdc.com.