By Guest Author: Patty Brewer, Export Finance Manager with the SBA’s Office of International Trade
As I drop my kids off at school, I hear other parents telling their children – Make Smart Choices Today! That’s great advice, not just for kids. I could take that advice as I plan my lunch – should I pick the nice salad filled with healthy choices, or that pepperoni pizza dripping with melted cheese? Needless to say, we have opportunities to make smart choices all day long. Here’s one smart choice that you should not pass up – if you are a small business exporter investigating expanding your international sales into new markets – get in touch with your Exporter Network to help you find international partners.
Whether you are looking for buyers, distributors, warehousing, or logistics assistance, you want to make sure your international partner is legitimate and reliable. Several weeks ago, a small business owner called me excited about the foreign buyer with whom he was currently negotiating a very large sale. I encouraged him to reach out to the U.S. Commercial Service in Denver and within a few hours the business owner verified that the prospective buyer was a fraud. It was a very discouraging moment for the business owner, but it demonstrated the power of the information available at your fingertips.
As you take advantage of international opportunities, check-in with your network of export experts to guide you long the way. A large network of federal and state offices, as well as several non-profits, can provide counseling, training, and research during your export journey.
Visit with the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network where you can get counseling and training on writing your export business plan, digital marketing, and understanding financial statements.
Next, go to the U.S. Commercial Service Denver to get market intelligence that will help you target the best trade opportunities. The USCS also offers business matchmaking with overseas partners and prospects.
As you develop your export strategy and draft your plan, you notice a need for cash. Several grant programs are available to offset costs for international marketing. The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), administered by the Wyoming Business Council can provide grants to attend international trade shows. For agricultural exporters, the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association (WUSATA) provides a cost reimbursement on eligible international marketing expenses (Double your export marketing budget with WUSATA’s FundMatch).
Finally, the SBA’s Office of International Trade has developed three export loan programs for each stage of exporting. The Export Express for export development, the Export Working Capital program to fulfil export orders, and the International Trade Loan for expanding exporter capacity.
Make smart choices today and reach out to your Exporter Network. Staff at the Wyoming SBDC Network, WTC Denver, USCS, STEP, WUSATA, and SBA are ready to answer your international trade questions.
About the Guest Author: Patty Brewer is an Export Finance Manager with the SBA’s Office of International Trade. Her territory includes Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming. She can be reached at 720-556-4664 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
May is World Trade Month. Check out the upcoming Women Export Academy to learn about tools, information, and network access to help your small business succeed in the global market.