By: Donna Little, Center Director, LSBDC at McNeese State University
Have you considered exporting your services or products to another country? About 95 percent of the world’s customers live outside the United States. Can you grow your business by selling to them?
Many small businesses start with our neighbors to the north and south. We have a lot in common with the residents of Canada and Mexico so those markets can be easy to penetrate.
The federal government has specific regulations regarding exporting but many resources are available to help a business owner stay out of trouble. The U.S. Department of Commerce provides the website www.export.gov/louisiana, which is an excellent resource. The site offers tutorials for those who are new to export, giving convenient information on the world of exporting. Private freight forwarding companies can guide a business in selecting the right way to ship goods, filing the required paperwork, negotiating shipping charges, dealing with insurance, etc.
If you’d like to learn about going global, the Louisiana Trade Guide will be an excellent resource for your business. The Louisiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network is working with ThinkGlobal Inc. to produce the fourth edition of the guide. This print and online resource gives information about key resources in Louisiana, such as the assistance available from Louisiana Economic Development and the U.S. Small Business Administration, questions and answers concerning exporting and information about companies that can ease the path to successful exports.
The Louisiana Trade Guide features success stories about companies that are prospering by exporting. In the 2015/16 edition of the magazine, Alta Baker, who is president and CEO of Save Haven Enterprises in Jennings, wrote about several Louisiana companies that have expanded their markets by finding buyers outside of the United States. Baker chaired the Louisiana District Export Council, a group that encourages businesses to take advantage of markets in other countries.
Businesses can also advertise in the Louisiana Trade Guide. The publication will be distributed to exporters, chambers of commerce and private service providers here in Louisiana, as well as to U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide. Advertisers will reach a highly targeted group of active exporters as well as those in other countries who are interested in doing business with U.S. sellers. More information about the Louisiana Trade guide is available at www.think.global/Louisiana.