Created on May 20, 2014
This post originally appeared on the Commerce.gov Blog
At the Department of Commerce and the Minority Business Development Agency we are dedicated to helping more minority-owned business leverage their competitive advantage and expand their business through exports. The most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals how minority-owned firms employ nearly six million American workers and contribute one trillion dollars in annual economic output to the U.S. economy. This economic output includes significant exporting contributions. In fact, minority-owned firms are export leaders in 14 key industry sectors.
To celebrate World Trade Month we are kicking off a blog series to highlight valuable resources and information for minority businesses looking at exporting for the first time and firms looking to expand their existing exporting efforts.
Here are six steps to start exporting:
Complete an export readiness self-assessment: Find out if you have what it takes to market your products or services into the global marketplace. Provide answers to nine questions and receive advice on your exporting potential .
Training and counseling: use online resources like webinars and training courses to learn the basics of exporting and increase your understanding of the exporting process. Access webinars and online courses from the International Trade Agency (ITA) , U.S. Census Bureau Go Global Webinars , and the Small Business Administration (SBA) .
Develop your Export Business Plan: Use the SBA Export Business Planner  to work through the process of gathering information and setting SMART goals and objectives. The Export Business Planner will help your business explore exporting options.
Conduct Market Research: It is critical for you to find the best exporting prospects for your business success. The U.S. government has the latest information on market conditions  around the world. You can also use the Trade Stats Express  to identify potential markets.
Find Buyers: Leverage opportunities at the local, state, and federal government levels to meet potential foreign buyers. Use reverse trade mission  hosted by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency or overseas trade mission  hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Many states government also host overseas trade missions check out your states business opportunities websites.
Investigate Export Finance Option: understanding the available grants, insurance and finance programs available to assist your firm as exporting options are critical to your exporting success. Start with federal resources at Export-Import Bank , Overseas Private Investment Corporation , and SBA Export Loans .
Take your business to the next level and begin to go and grow globally. MBDA and our national network of more than 40 MBDA Business Centers  are here to help. Contact a MBDA Business Center  to learn more about how exporting can increase your bottom line.
Also, stay tuned to learn more about the next phase of the National Export Initiative –NEI/NEXT !