Doug Barry, of the U.S. Commercial Services, recently sat down with Jim Blasingame on “The Small Business Advocate Show” to discuss potential ways to make a small business more competitive in an increasingly global marketplace. The first suggestion that both Mr. Barry and Mr. Blasingame had was to go to one of the 108 offices for the United States Commercial Services to get advice, which is usually free. However, Mr. Barry quickly brought up another alternative that he feels is better: attending trade shows.

Mr. Barry pointed out that his offices sponsor nearly 40 trade shows annually, all of which can be found on the home page of The reason he like the trade shows so much is because they tend to be more practical than just going to the office for advice. The trade shows help to not only connect small business with foreign trade partners, but also to answer challenging questions such as “Where would I export to?” and “How can I afford to export?” Simply by attending a trade show (which are tailored specifically for many industries), a small business owner can get a better understanding of how they can better succeed in the global economy.

The other reason that trade shows are beneficial is that the foreign companies that come to the United States for them are actively selected and recruited by the U.S. Embassies in their countries. This helps to ensure that all potential trade partners will be viable, sustainable, and legal. It also helps to ease the burden a small business feels going into the international export market by knowing that they have a partner with the backing of the United States government (which also helps oversee initial operations).

So, what are you waiting for? Go out to the old trade show!

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