So as a U.S. business owner, this may be the ideal time to tap into the growing economies of these international countries, and the National Export Initiative is helping pave the way.
Expanding overseas can seem very daunting because of the uncertainties that come with doing business outside of the country. Questions arise about the cost and logistics of shipping across the globe, learning customs and trade laws, as well as keeping up with fluctuating currency conversion rates.
This is where the NEI comes to the rescue.
Seventy percent of American exporting is currently done by small and medium-sized businesses and the goal of the NEI is to double the nation’s exports by 2014 by providing a platform for U.S. businesses to go international. The program is meant to help American firms win more foreign government contracts, find buyers worldwide, participate in more trade missions and trade shows, receive more export financing and learn new ways to sell products and services overseas.
By considering a few factors, business owners can get a handle on the opportunities that exist and avoid some of the potential pitfalls.
1. Identify markets: Whether you are importing or exporting, conducting research on countries to do business with should be one of the first things you tackle. This is a vital step in deciding which firms you will buy from or sell to and which countries have a need for your service or product.
Developing countries such as Chile, Egypt, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Philippines, Vietnam and Turkey are rapidly growing and should be included as a list of potential business partners. These emerging countries have a growing middle class that is more educated and has more earning power, affording them the capacity to consume goods and services more rapidly.
When identifying markets, business owners should pay attention to specific growth sectors within each country. For example, Vietnam has a high demand for electronics and fertilizer, while Mongolia is importing sugar, industrial consumer goods and cars. In other areas such as China, healthcare-related goods are in demand, while Hong Kong has a burgeoning upper class interested in wine and the fine arts.
From an importer’s standpoint, market research will help determine which international countries are most capable of meeting your demands: economically, logistically, geographically and politically.