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Chapter 1: The World Is Open for Your Business


  • Selling globally is easier than ever.
  • More help than ever is available.
  • Your assumptions may not be accurate.
  • Transform your business—and yourself.

Download a PDF of Basic Guide to Exporting.


Selling globally is easier than ever—for any size company. The latest figures show big increases in the number of small- and medium-sized U.S. companies exporting to at least one international market, as well as in the value of goods and services exported. Global trade in goods and services is growing, with new trade agreements being introduced and renegotiated, others at advanced stages of negotiation, and some combining with existing agreements to greatly expand export opportunities around the world.

Do You Want More Sales Channels?
Today, if you have a web presence you have a global marketing and order-taking platform. International credit card processing and even language translation are no longer obstacles. Online Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) marketplaces offer access to a global army of shoppers.

They also provide payment solutions and even shippers. If web-based marketing and sales are insufficient to meet your sales growth appetite, you can attend trade shows in the United States where buyers from around the world come to purchase U.S. goods and services. Government agencies can provide a variety of connections, influence, and introductions, a potent combination you might think of as “customized business matchmaking.”

In fact, there is a broad variety of channels to choose from, including:

  • Direct to end-user
  • Distributors in country
  • Supplier to the U.S. government in a foreign country
  • Your e-commerce website
  • A third-party e-commerce platform where you handle fulfillment
  • A third-party e-commerce platform where they handle fulfillment
  • Supplier to a large U.S. company with international sales
  • Franchise your business

Right now, though, most U.S. exporters sell to only one country market, such as Canada. There are understandable reasons for the hesitation to broaden their horizons, from legal questions to language issues. But with proper preparation, it’s possible to do much more. There are significant advantages to selling to an entire region, such as Central America. Doing so, however, requires developing a strategy for expanding your thinking and sales from one to many markets. You can find help in developing this strategy—from private consultants, from your home state and local U.S. government sources, from the web, and from this book. Think of this help—a social network of key contacts that can help you grow your international sales—as your Global Entrepreneurship Ecosystem (GEE).

Reasons to Export
Once you get started, you’ll find there are a lot of reasons to increase your exports. Exporting can help you:

  • Grow your business
  • Increase your profitability
  • Defend your domestic market
  • Smooth out your business cycles
  • Increase your management and intercultural expertise
  • Use your production capabilities fully
  • Increase your competitiveness in all markets
  • Increase the value of your intellectual property
  • Increase the value of your business as a whole

There are also broader reasons to set your sights overseas. For example, 95 percent of global consumers live outside the United States. At the same time, foreign competition in the domestic market is increasing. A World Bank report projects that international trade in goods and services will likely more than triple by 2030. With this significant projected growth in global trade, fueled in large part by newly affluent consumers in China, India, and other developing economies, the challenge for businesses of all sizes in the United States is how to dip into this incredible revenue torrent. A Basic Guide to Exporting aims to help prime your pump.

Almost every chapter in this book ends with a Success Story describing a company that has thrived by exporting. This chapter’s example is DeFeet International, a maker of socks for cyclists, which now has distributors in 35 countries.

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