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Figuring how to export and getting started can be a daunting task for companies, especially for smaller companies without deep resources.
The U.S. Small Business Administration, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce, has launched a free online tool to help businesses walk through the process and develop international programs.
“Six Steps to Begin Exporting” (www.export.gov/begin) is the latest tool in the National Export Initiative toolbox to help entrepreneurs begin exporting.
The six-step process includes sections on assessment, training and counseling, business planning, marketing research, finding buyers and financing.
After completing the self-assessment, businesses receive a score indicating their level of readiness. Based on the score, additional resources are identified to fit their needs, including SBA and its nationwide resource partners SCORE and Small Business Development Centers, as well as Commerce’s U.S. Export Assistance Centers.
“This practical, interactive website is just the latest example of the commitment the Obama administration has made to helping American businesses — especially small businesses — sell more of what they make around the world,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in a statement.
“Connecting America’s entrepreneurs and small businesses with new buyers and new markets abroad,” he added, “will help create jobs and spur sustainable economic growth.”
According to the administrators, 96 percent of the world’s customers live outside the United States, but many potential exporters are afraid of the process, assuming it’s too complicated. The tool is designed to walk companies through it to show it can be managed.
The website, www.export.gov, has plenty of other information from trade data to promotion to information about codes and tariffs.