Today Michigan State University hosted the Go Global: Exporting 101 Seminar at the Henry Center for Executive Development. The seminar was centered on showing businesses all of the resources available to help them export. Small businesses in particular were targeted as there are many national and local initiatives aimed to help increase exports. Many interesting statistics were shared that prove just expansive the growth opportunities are if companies begin to export more aggressively.

First off, 95% of potential customers are outside of the United States. This means companies who are not interested in selling abroad are ignoring the vast majority of their potential customer base. Next, for the companies that are already exporting, 60% of them are only exporting to one other country. This still leaves a considerable amount of untouched potential. If more customers aren’t enough of an incentive to export consider this: jobs that are supported by exports pay approximately 15% more than jobs that are supported by domestic business alone. Lastly, 70 % of US companies have less than 20 employees. This means that small businesses hold some of the most potential for growth through exporting.

All of these statistics that were shared, along with many more, were powerful in persuading small businesses attending this seminar to consider exporting. Many other interesting points were brought up. For example, one of our presenters pointed out that by selling to many different countries you can spread out your risk. This way when an economic downturn hits one country, the sales in other countries can keep your business going. This is a valuable lesson that many US companies had to learn the hard way in the most recent recession. The growth and ease of ordering online has also helped businesses to export much easier than in the past. Taking advantage of ecommerce is becoming a necessity. We also discussed the risks associated with exporting. Political, legal, financial, and other risks all need to be considered before exporting. Be sure you get legal counseling to ensure that your patents, trademarks, and contracts are valid in the countries you are looking to export to. Take advantage of local export assistance centers that can put you in touch with reliable representatives from your desired country as well.

There are so many resources for small businesses to help just start the exporting process. has a myriad of helpful resources for exporters. We also have several different sections that provide helpful information. Our Export Tutorials, Trade Law Compendium, Market Potential Index, country pages, and much more are all free resources that can give you the information you need to begin your exporting journey. Don’t let exporting scare you, let the potential for growth excite and motivate you to explore new markets!

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