(NNPA)—As business owners struggle to cope with stagnate markets at home, an increasing number of entrepreneurs are finding ways to expand revenues, growing sales from exports overseas. Recently, the U.S. economy contracted minus one percent for April to July 2009. Worldwide many countries less burdened by debt are already showing economic growth including China, Japan, Argentina, Germany, France, Brazil, Chile, Australia and Singapore.
In 2008, U.S. small businesses produced 90 percent of all goods exported, accounting for more than $40 billion worth of revenues to China alone ranging from published books, professional services, electrical and medical equipment to bottled water, baked goods, to wine, seeds, nuts and fruits. Entrepreneurs face initial export barriers including language, transportation shipping, licenses and time zone issues. However, the rewards far outweigh any challenges with 22 percent or more revenue gains.
Entrepreneurs in the U.S. are enjoying several advantages by using global sales models that continue to squeeze out domestic sales while accelerating sales growth from emerging consumer markets of over three billion people worldwide.
Some of the advantages of expanding sales aboard include:
•Extending the sales life cycle of legacy products and services by finding needs in new markets.
•By expanding markets it reduces the dependence on domestic revenues to grow their business even during tough times.
•Seasonal businesses find comfort overseas as domestic demand cycles counter fluctuate annually.
•Business knowledge grows as entrepreneurs gain unique regional intelligence that adds to building the business asset values.
As in any worthy endeavor the key ingredients for entrepreneurs requires hard work, smart planning and innovative approaches. Several interesting online sources provide small business financing to incorporate exporting into most sales plans including, The SBA Export Assistance Center, Export-Import Bank, The U.S.-China Business Council, U.S. Department of Commerce, Chicago United, Minority Business Development Agency Funding, The U.S. Government Export Portal, The Federation20of International Trade Associations, WAND Foreign Company Database, Minority Professional Network and The Black Business Directory.
Many entrepreneurs find it useful to initially sell their products or services overseas using distributors or export agents. Entrepreneurs should aggressively educate themselves networking with local business owners and mentors to learn from their experiences. Key questions to ask as the new venture develops include:
•Is there a need for the product or service in the prospective geographic region?
•Is the target market familiar with the product? If so, it reduces the need for educational advertising expenses.
•Do you feel comfortable visiting and speaking the native language of the targeted foreign market?
•Does the region’s infrastructure provide cost effective delivery of the product to the consumer?
Don’t overextend the business by chasing down every global inquire. Write a detailed international market research business plan tailoring sales campaigns to incorporate joint ventures, distributors or local cultural traditions and pricing realities. Make sure all goods are packaged and labeled correctly, satisfying all global transportation regulations.
Find convenient, secure ways to get paid online such as PayPal Worldwide or credit card services. Printed bank checks are not practical when doing business overseas but electronic funds transfer (EFT) can be used. Using wireless laptops and PDA cell devices are a great way to always stay connected.
Use e-mail, facsimile or online website eCommerce to enable overseas customers to conveniently place orders 24 hours per day. The website content may also be easily translated to appear in the customer’s native language thereby increasing sales revenues.
It is important that business owners continue to promote charitable community-based relations at home as well as abroad.
Measuring the results is essential to fine tuning the success of any business sales venture. Ensure that flexible elements are designed into the plan enabling modifications as market conditions fluctuate. The ability to change direction quickly is one primary advantage of being a small business and it is necessary to survive.
Find honest workers who are self-starters, focused on generating revenues with finesse. Train employees by giving them hands-on examples, allowing them to fulfill several job functions. They should be encouraged to openly contribute new ideas. Give workers a stake in the global business it’s amazing to watch the increased productivity and results.
Finally, the successfully entrepreneur is determined to pursue new innovative opportunities, never being afraid to fail. Inevitably, the ultimate entrepreneur will learn the art of turning sour grapes into lemon aid thus grasping the gold.
(Dr. Gray can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.drfarrahgray.com.)