In recognition of the key role that small businesses play in the US economy, Black Friday – the big shopping day after U.S. Thanksgiving Day, is now followed by Shop Small Business Saturday. Sites like these, created for the special day, raise the visibility of small businesses, not only in the U.S. but around the world.
If you have a website, you are a global company!
There are over 3 billion (and constantly growing) Internet users. A significant portion of them use the Internet to shop. As of August, 2013, e-commerce accounted for about 5% of total global sales to the tune of US$1 trillion dollars. eMarketer, the market research firm, anticipates that this figure will grow to 7.3% this year. B2B (business-to-business) transactions account for 90% of e-commerce activity.
Furthermore, today’s technology allows a buyer located anywhere in the world to use a mobile phone to locate your company’s website and to make a purchase. Mobile phone use is exploding in emerging economies – also the fastest growing consumer markets for a wide variety of products and services. Over 70% of the world’s purchasing power is located outside of the United States. Not surprisingly, companies that export earn more revenue. For all these reasons, your small business is BIG enough to go global!
Some of my clients have fallen head-first into international trade as a result of an email or phone call from a prospect who learnt about their company on the Internet. Ideally, you want to be prepared even before you get that call or identify that prospect that will lead to your first international sale.
Here are some key things you need to know:
- Will I need a license to export my product or service?
- What steps can I take to ensure that I get paid?
- What kind of support services will I need – customs broker, freight forwarder, attorney?
- Is there a preferred market that it makes sense for me to target?
- If so, what are the rules that I need to know?
To Learn More
If you think that your business is ready to take the next step or to learn more about how you can use the three T’s — Trade Agreements, Trade Financing, and Technology — to take your business global, contact us.