The April 6th cover of USA Today Money featured an article by Paul Davidson, “Small Business Looks Across Borders to Add Markets”. Besides sharing the success of MEP ExporTech graduate Osagian Canoes, the article cites an insane amount of data that supports the need for U.S. manufacturers to send their products beyond our borders.
A particular excerpt from the article caught my attention:
Small companies are at the heart of the effort since they create two-thirds of new jobs in an economic recovery, officials say. Yet they often lack the overseas offices, sales forces and cross-cultural knowledge to mine foreign markets, says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.
It can seem daunting to export. The language barriers, IP issues, foreign regulations, shipping costs, cultural differences… the list supporting a “why bother” argument is overwhelming.
Why bother? Because people around the world want U.S. made products. If the product has the best quality and is truly unique, customers will want to buy it.
It’s not easy to export at first… but it’s not impossible either. As the article mentions, Osagian Canoes leveraged a program co-developed and offered through MEP – ExporTech. I had the opportunity to participate in a few of the workshops last year and was overwhelmed with the success of the program. The secret of the workshop, to me, is that companies have the opportunity to break down all the barriers to exporting while engaging with ‘exporting experts’ to get the answers quickly, taking out most of the guesswork.
But still, we’re not exporting enough. As Davidson states in the article, “just 1% of the nation’s 30 million companies export and 58% of those that do ship to only one country.”
What do you think U.S. exports are so low? What solutions are out there to accelerate exporting?