Are you a small business owner that is not currently exporting your goods and services, but is considering it? Are you concerned about how to make the right decision on this important question for your company and how to prepare your business for success in this area? If so, this column is for intended for you. It is my goal to share information to help position you and your business for a decision on exporting. 

Before joining the Missouri SBDC, I served as a faculty member. With a passion for education and discovery, I plan to write this column as an “Export and Global Trade 101” class. I’ll share some of the basic reasons of “why” export, as well as some of the challenges. The column will also cover “how” to export, and factors to consider in making the decision to export. I’ll put myself in the shoes of the business owner who is considering exporting for the first time; one with no prior experience in this area. In each column I’ll also include a link or two to sites that share an interesting article or represent a website I think you bookmark for future reference. Also expect to see some highlights of our resources, additional resources and opportunities available through partner trade agencies, and lastly, a news item that has recently caught my attention. 

Since this is the first column, I’ll keep it brief, but will share a few statistics[1] I hope will at least encourage you to start to think about exporting: 

  • Of the 280,000 U.S. businesses that export, nearly 98% have fewer than 500 employees
  • Companies that export are 17% more profitable than those that don’t
  • 95% of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States
  • International B2C eCommerce is expected to double in the next few years to US$2.2T
  • The U.S. has negotiated free trade agreements with 20 counties to support easier movement of goods across borders

In addition to the above, here are two more reasons for you to begin to consider exporting.  First, a total of 6,011 companies exported from Missouri locations in 2016. Of those, 5,104 (85%) were small and medium-sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees, generating 23.5% of Missouri's total exports of goods.[2] You have peers, perhaps even a business you know, that is already exporting. Second, if your business has a website, you already have an international presence and have taken the first step to market your goods and services!

The Missouri SBDC has resources and counseling services to assist you; simply reach out to the contact at the bottom of this newsletter. We’re prepared to work with you and help your business advance in this area. Thanks for reading.

Check out the entire article series on exporting:

[1] International Trade Administration – Strategic Reasons to Export

[2] Office of the U.S. Trade Representative

The Missouri SBDC is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.