Selling Overseas: A Case For Exporting
Larry Bernaski, Enterprise Florida
Many SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises) in rural areas are naturally accustomed to conducting their business at the local, regional and statewide levels. They have a lot in common with SMEs all across the United States; less than 5% of U.S. companies export. Those who do sell overseas routinely sell to only one market. Here o Florida’s Nature Coast, we are aware of the benefits associated with exporting and we encourage all businesses to take a serious look at their role in the international marketplace.
Who Can Export?
Virtually any successful business can find value in taking a closer look at the benefits of exporting. In Florida most exporters fall into these categories:
- Manufacturer’s representatives (agents/distributors)
- Professional service providers (legal, project management, engineering, etc.)
During the last downturn in the U.S. economy many small businesses saw their sales and profits decline. Were you aware that exporters weathered the downturn better than non-exporting companies? Did you know that the downturn was primarily a U.S. – European phenomenon? Veteran exporters knew this and as sales declined in Europe they transitioned to the economies in South and Central America and the Pacific Rim. Being prepared to sell to a global marketplace was the key to their success even during difficult times. Still have doubts? Consider the following:
- Exporters grow 15% faster, pay 15% higher wages and are 15% more profitable than non-exporters
- 90% of the world’s buying power lies outside the United States
- The average export transaction is $10-15,000; ideally suited for an SME
- The USA is still the largest market in the world but it represents less than 20% of the global economy
- By their very nature, exporters are in tune with global patterns in their industry and adapting to market conditions rather than being out maneuvered by companies overseas
Resources for Exporters
Were you aware that there are federal programs that can guarantee getting paid; even if you offer your overseas buyer net 30, 60 or 90 days? Did you know that there are state grants available to help pay for exhibiting at an overseas trade show? Not sure where to start? There are funds available to assist you in developing an export strategy. These and many more services are available to exporters and many new-to-export companies are amazed when they learn just how many resources are at their disposal. Below you’ll find information on the primary public-sector export service providers serving Levy County.
The State of Florida’s (EFI) primary economic development arm offers a wide range of export services to assist the new-to-export and veteran exporter alike. An overview of the export services offered by their nationally-recognized International Trade Division can be found here.
In Levy County, your local contact for Enterprise Florida is:
Regional Manager of International Business Development
The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. U.S. Commercial Service maintains trade professionals in over 100 U.S. cities and in more than 75 countries. Information on their export services can be found here.
In Levy County your local contact for the U.S. Commercial Services is:
Small Business Development Center, University of North Florida
The Florida SBDC Network is state designated as Florida’s Principal Provider of Business Assistance and recognized as Florida’s “premier source” for business assistance. With funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Florida SBDC at UNF is able to provide its management assistance services at little or no charge to the client.
Information on their export services can be found here.
In Levy County your local contact for the Small Business Development Center at the University of North Florida is: