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UMKC Innovation Center
UMKC Innovation Center
Exporting Tips for Small Businesses
By Sarah Mote
May 14, 2015

Exporting can be a profitable business! Are you ready? Phase 2

Exporting Tips for Small Businesses

Meet Mark Allen, a ​senior counselor with the UMKC-Small Business & Technology Development Center and  a seasoned entrepreneur. Mark's resume includes founding and running nine companies  in a holding company that was sold several years ago. At that time it was sold to an overseas group, the companies had several hundred million dollars in revenues and over five hundred employees. ​Mark works with innovators​ and small business entrepreneur to assist them in transforming themselves and their businesses. 

Here, Mark shares his second of four posts on exporting—how to get prepared to successfully take your company global. Tune in next week for another installment.

In the first post, I discussed the first step toward exporting and how to begin training.  In Phase II, your SBTDC counselor will schedule an appointment with you to visit your company’s location and meet with you to go into more detail on the key components of exporting. 

In this meeting, you’ll have the chance to discuss your current business situation and work with your counselor to ascertain the viability of exporting.  The counselor is there to provide support services either way, should decide TO export or NOT TO export.  Market research is critical, so use the resources of , and other avenues such as USA Trade Online, The World Bank, and the United Nations Statistics Bureau.

If you determine you are ready to go on the export journey, you and the counselor will begin discussions

  • ·on your goals for international business (“why”)
  • ·on product or service you will enter the export markets with (“what”)
  • in which markets you see the most opportunity for sales and profits (“where”)
  • ·on the selection of in-country market distribution or agency  (“who”)
  • ·on your timeline for implementation (“when”).

To move ahead in the journey, it is required that you identify your product or service using an internationally recognized code number for that product or service.  This number can be found in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.  This number is a globally accepted common number to classify your goods or services and make them easily identifiable to your international customers, the receiving country customs officials, logistics managers and bankers.

Also in this Phase II meeting, you and your counselor will lay out some basic financial projections, goals, and budget for the export mission.  Of course, this is KEY to your reasons for exporting in the first place.

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