en U.S. International Trade Commission Releases Report on How T-TIP Will Benefit Small Businesses <p>Editor&#39;s Note: This blog is by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and first appeared on&nbsp;<a href="" style="font-size: 12px;"></a>.</p> <p><strong style="font-size: 12px;"><em>Washington, D.C.</em></strong><span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;&ndash; A central goal of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations is enhancing the ability of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to participate in transatlantic trade by addressing trade barriers that may have a disproportionate impact on them. &nbsp;</span></p> <p>The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) believes that U.S. trade and investment policies are made stronger when they are shaped by the broadest possible input, including from SMEs, the engines of growth of the U.S. economy.</p> <p>Pursuant to a request by USTR, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) today issued a new report entitled &ldquo;<em>Trade Barriers That U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Perceive As Affecting Exports to the European Union</em>.&rdquo;&nbsp; USTR requested that USITC undertake this study as part of USTR&rsquo;s effort to gather input from the public on the ongoing T-TIP negotiations. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Over the past six months, the USITC, USTR, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the U.S. Department of Commerce worked together to convene 28 small business roundtables in cities around the United States, in addition to a hearing held in Washington, D.C., to hear directly from small businesses about barriers to exporting to the European Union (EU).&nbsp; The USITC report identifies cross-cutting and industry-specific barriers that U.S. small businesses have identified as disproportionately burdensome to them, compared to large companies, and also includes suggestions for increasing participation by U.S. SMEs in trade with the EU.</p> <p>Ambassador Michael Froman welcomed the report, stating that &ldquo;<strong>Small businesses are the backbone of economic growth, job creation, and a stronger middle class in communities across America.&nbsp; Nearly 95,000 U.S. small businesses export to the EU, sustaining good jobs at home.&nbsp; Tackling trade barriers in the EU that may disproportionately affect small businesses, and expanding market access for U.S. firms of all sizes through T-TIP, will help U.S. companies, farmers, and workers unlock opportunity by finding new European customers and boost job growth</strong>.&rdquo;</p> <p>The EU is an important export destination for U.S. SMEs. &nbsp;SME merchandise exports to the EU totaled $67 billion in 2010 and $76 billion in 2011 (latest available data).&nbsp; However, many SMEs reported that EU technical regulations and other trade barriers limit their ability to export, and they expressed concern that standards-related measures may pose a greater burden on SMEs seeking to export to the EU than on larger companies.&nbsp; While complying with standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures can be costly for larger firms, it is potentially prohibitive for SMEs because many costs are fixed, regardless of a firm&rsquo;s size or revenue.&nbsp; Small businesses also cited difficulties involving patenting costs, logistics challenges, difficulties navigating customs requirements, and differing tariff classifications for products.&nbsp; SMEs also perceived that tariffs affected them disproportionately, in contrast to large firms.&nbsp;</p> <p>Small businesses also reported industry-specific barriers in chemicals, cosmetics, biofuels, emerging technology products, machinery, electronics, and apparel.&nbsp; For example, SMEs producing machinery, electronic, transportation, and other goods cited a lack of harmonized international standards and mutual recognition for conformity assessment, as well as problems complying with technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures.&nbsp; Agriculture SMEs reported a range of export barriers, including high tariffs, inconsistent EU rules and testing mandates, non-science-based regulations, and a lack of harmonization between U.S. and EU standards.&nbsp; U.S. services SMEs in the healthcare, engineering, testing, and audiovisual industries highlighted the lack of mutual recognition of licensing, credentials, and standards, as well as other issues. &nbsp;In the T-TIP negotiations, the United States and the EU aim to make their approaches to regulations and standards more open, transparent, and compatible while maintaining high levels of consumer, environmental, and labor protection.</p> <p>The USITC report also describes SMEs that have had success exporting to the EU.&nbsp; Those small businesses cited the benefits of U.S. government resources available to SMEs, including SBA and U.S. Export-Import Bank financing programs, and the interagency web portal,&nbsp;<a href=""></a>.</p> <p>The complete text of the USITC report may be found&nbsp;<a href="">here</a>.</p> <p>The U.S. and EU have also issued a joint document on T-TIP opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises, which may be found&nbsp;<a href="">here</a>.</p> <p>A T-TIP factsheet describing the Administration&rsquo;s specific goals and objectives, and outlining how this agreement will benefit American businesses of all sizes, workers, farmers and consumers may be found&nbsp;<a href="">here</a>.</p> Open For Business International SBA News and Views Mon, 31 Mar 2014 21:34:09 +0000 ngoriel 812301 at Is There a Form for That? An Introduction to Commonly Used Exporting Forms for Your Small Business <p>If you&rsquo;re a small business owner interested in exporting &ndash; or are already navigating the international arena &ndash; you know there&rsquo;s a lot to get organized. The resources available from <a href="" title="link to"></a> can help you with all the stages, from training and market research to information about financing. also offers a wealth of information about <a href="" title="link to documents information">documents that are used in exporting</a>. Here&rsquo;s a rundown of a few of the most common.</p> <p><strong>Common Export Documents</strong></p> <p><em>Commercial Invoice</em>: A commercial invoice is a bill for the goods from the seller to the buyer. Governments often use them to determine the true value of goods when assessing customs duties.</p> <p><em>Export Packing List</em>: An export packing list features much more detail than a standard domestic packing list. It lists the seller, buyer, shipper, invoice number, shipment date and more. It also itemizes quantity, description, type of package (such as a box or crate), the weight and even more details.</p> <p><em>Pro Forma Invoice</em>: An exporter prepares a pro forma invoice before shipping the goods. It lets the buyer know the goods to be sent, their value and other key information. It also can be used as an offering of sale or price quote.</p> <p><strong>Transportation Documents</strong></p> <p><a href="" title="link to airway bill information"><em>Airway Bill</em></a>: Airway bills are required for any airfreight shipments and are shipper-specific. For example, USPS, Fed-Ex, UPS, etc. have individual airway bills</p> <p><a href="" title="link to bill of lading information"><em>Bill of Lading</em></a>: A bill of lading is a contract between the owner of the goods and the carrier. A straight bill of lading is non-negotiable. A second, negotiable type is known as a shipper&#39;s order bill of lading. This can be bought, sold or traded while the goods are in transit. The customer <a href="" title="link to Bill of Lading information">usually needs an original as proof of ownership to take possession of the goods.</a></p> <p><em><a href="" title="link to EEI information">Electronic Export Information (EEI</a></em>): This is the most common of all export control documents. It&rsquo;s required for shipments above $2,500 and for shipments of any value requiring an export license. It has to be electronically filed via the <u>AES Direct</u> online system, which is a free service from Census and Customs. If you&rsquo;re shipping to Canada, you don&rsquo;t need an EEI unless an export license is required.</p> <p><strong>Export Compliance</strong></p> <p><a href="" title="link to Export Licenses information"><em>Export Licenses</em></a>: An export license is a government document that authorizes the export of specific goods in specific quantities to a particular destination. Some countries require an export license for most or all exports; others require it only under special circumstances.</p> <p><strong>Certificates Of Origin </strong></p> <p><em>Generic Certificate of Origin</em>: Some countries require a Certificate of Origin (CO) for either all or just certain products. In many cases, a statement of origin printed on company letterhead is sufficient, although some countries require that it be notarized. You should verify if a CO is required with the buyer, an experienced shipper/freight forwarder or the Trade Information Center.</p> <p>Check out <a href="" title="link to"> </a>&nbsp;for more information about these and more, including documents required for shipping specific products and destination-specific requirements. You can also visit <a href="" title="link to BusinessUSA exporting information">Business USA&rsquo;s Exporting Portal</a> for additional resources.</p> <p> <strong>Related Resources</strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="" title="link to A Small Business Guide to Exporting: Part 1 – Getting Started blog post">A Small Business Guide to Exporting: Part 1 &ndash; Getting Started</a></li> <li> <a href="" title="link to A Small Business Guide to Exporting: Part 2 – Getting Financing blog post">A Small Business Guide to Exporting: Part 2 &ndash; Getting Financing</a></li> <li> <a href="" title="link to Small Business Exporting – Insights from National Small Business Week 2013 blog post">Small Business Exporting &ndash; Insights from National Small Business Week 2013</a></li> <li> <a href="" title="link to 6 Steps to Assess Your Small Business’ Readiness to Export blog post">6 Steps to Assess Your Small Business&rsquo; Readiness to Export</a></li> </ul> Small Business Matters International Mon, 10 Mar 2014 12:13:53 +0000 kmurray 805181 at Interested in Exporting? These Four Resources Can Help <p>Did you know that nearly 96 percent of consumers live outside the United States? And two-thirds of the world&rsquo;s purchasing power is in foreign countries. As the numbers show, the international marketplace is a big one. So if you&rsquo;re interested in exploring the world of exporting &ndash; or have gotten started but could use some guidance &ndash; check out these resources to help.</p> <p><strong>Export Assistance Centers</strong></p> <p>Did you know that assistance centers across the United States exist to help small business owners and entrepreneurs <em>exclusively</em> with exporting topics?</p> <p><a href="" title="link to United States Exporting Assistance Centers">United States Exporting Assistance Centers</a> (USEACs) are staffed by professionals from the SBA, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Export-Import Bank and other public and private organizations. USEACs can help you understand the global marketplace and get you organized to join in and succeed. Some USEACs also have SBA representatives who are available to help you with your <a href="" title="SBA export financing">SBA export financing</a> needs. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Export Business Planner</strong></p> <p>The <a href="" title="link to Export Business Planner">Export Business Planner</a> is a downloadable tool that you can save and customize as you explore your exporting options.</p> <p>The Planner starts with an introduction to exporting and helps you determine your export readiness, then walks you through training and counseling information; marketing plan and financial materials; transportation and documentation details and more.</p> <p>The Planner also provides practical worksheets, templates and forms, in addition to a glossary of industry terms and even more helpful resources.</p> <p><strong>;s FAQ</strong></p> <p> is an ideal export resource. And its <a href="" title="link to's Frequently Asked Questions">frequently asked questions page</a> is great to browse, as they&rsquo;ve organized responses by categories. From exporting basics to trade agreements and regulations, this is a good place to start if you&rsquo;re looking to learn more but aren&rsquo;t quite sure where to start. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>USTDA Consultant Database</strong></p> <p>The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) maintains a database of companies and individuals who provide fee-based consulting services to small businesses interested in importing and exporting.</p> <p>Almost all contracts with USTDA are reserved for small businesses, most of which are opportunities for technical experts qualified in the areas of energy and power; project finance; health; manufacturing; mining &amp; natural resources; telecommunications and information technology; transportation; and water and the environment.</p> <p>Your business may be small, but there&rsquo;s a big opportunity in selling your product or service overseas. And this handful of resources can help put you on the path to international success.</p> <p><strong>Related resources</strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="" title="6 Steps to Assess Your Small Business’ Readiness to Export blog post">6 Steps to Assess Your Small Business&rsquo; Readiness to Export</a></li> <li> <a href="" title="8 Ways the U.S. Government Can Help You Finance Your Small Business Exports blog post">8 Ways the U.S. Government Can Help You Finance Your Small Business Exports</a></li> </ul> Small Business Matters International Mon, 27 Jan 2014 12:34:36 +0000 kmurray 791101 at Leveling the Playing Field for US Small Business Exporters <p>For American small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the European Union is one of the most lucrative markets, with more than 94,000 American small businesses currently contributing to more than $630 billion in U.S. &ndash; E.U. trade.</p> <p>Beginning September 9, the <a href="" title="International Trade Commission website">U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC)</a> will bring together U.S. SME exporters around the country through a <a href="" title="read the ITC announcement about the roundtables">series of roundtables</a> to help document trade barriers that disproportionately affect small business exporters in the EU. &nbsp;The information shared will be provided to U.S. trade negotiators to better understand the needs of small business exporters.</p> <p>In July, the United States and the EU held the first round of the <a href="" title="White House TTIP fact sheet on">Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)</a> negotiations aimed at increasing jobs and economic growth.&nbsp; The transatlantic economic relationship is already the world&rsquo;s largest, accounting for one third of total goods and services trade and nearly half of world GDP.&nbsp; Since small businesses are critical engines of exports and economic growth, U.S negotiators intend to conclude an agreement that recognizes the important role they play in the transatlantic relationship and most importantly one where they can take advantage of new trade opportunities.</p> <p>The <a href="" title="information and schedule for roundtables on">schedule</a> for the roundtables is as follows:</p> <table border="0" style="width: 350px;"> <tbody> <tr> <td> 9/9&nbsp;</td> <td> Detroit</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/10</td> <td> Cleveland</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/11</td> <td> Minneapolis</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/12</td> <td> Milwaukee</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/13</td> <td> Chicago</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/16</td> <td> Raleigh</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/17</td> <td> Atlanta</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/17</td> <td> Denver</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/18</td> <td> Miami/Ft. Lauderdale</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/18</td> <td> Albuquerque</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/19</td> <td> Houston</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/20</td> <td> Salt Lake City</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/23</td> <td> Philadelphia</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/23</td> <td> Los Angeles</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/24</td> <td> New York</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/24</td> <td> Irvine</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/25</td> <td> Sacramento</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/26</td> <td> Boston</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/27</td> <td> Providence</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 9/27</td> <td> Fresno</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>In addition to participating in the roundtables, exporters will also be able to convey their concerns and suggestions through <a href="" title="Field Hearings and Guidance on">public hearings</a> in San Jose, California on September 26 and Washington, D.C. October 8.</p> <p>Business owners who are interested in having their voices heard but cannot attend the roundtables or public hearings can submit written statements by sending an email to <a href=""></a> (by October 15, 2013) or by mail to EU-SME Project, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20436 (no later than September 30, 2013).</p> <p>For more detailed information, click <a href="" title="information and schedule for roundtables on">here</a> or contact <a href=""></a>.</p> <p align="center"># # #</p> Open For Business International Fri, 06 Sep 2013 19:25:02 +0000 Dario Gomez 752884 at Small Business Exporting – Insights from National Small Business Week <p><em>&ldquo;When you &ndash; as a small business &ndash; export, you strengthen our economy back here at home and help create real jobs for real people.&rdquo; &ndash;</em>Cory Simkek, Director, USEAC (Dept. of Commerce) St. Louis, MO<img alt="" height="189" src="/sites/default/files/images/iStock_000020447326Small.jpg" style="float: right;" title="Image of globe" width="289" /></p> <p>This year, small businesses across the country were celebrated during the 50<sup>th</sup> National Small Business Week, an annual event acknowledging the contributions of America&rsquo;s entrepreneurs. Of the many topics discussed during the sessions, expert panels and Google + Hangouts, insights about exporting abounded during the daily &ldquo;Growing and Going Global&rdquo; panels.</p> <p>So, how can you take your business to the next level by selling overseas? What do you need to be successful in exporting? What resources are available to help your small business export endeavors? These experts came together to answer these questions and more. Here are highlights from their discussions.</p> <p><strong>What kind of help can I find &ndash; especially if I&rsquo;m in the early stages of exploring exporting opti</strong><strong>ons for my small business?</strong></p> <p>The value of mentoring and networking can&rsquo;t be overstated. Many of the panelists encouraged aspiring exporters to reach out to their local resources for expert help from <a href="">SCORE</a> and <a href="">Small Business Development Centers</a> (SBDCs). The skilled volunteers at these organizations provide counseling and guidance &ndash; at no cost to you &ndash; to help you get started or guide you in the right direction toward export success. You can use SBA&rsquo;s <a href="">Local Assistance Tool</a> to find your nearest office.</p> <p>Another resource mentioned during the session in Seattle came from Pru Balatero, Washington Regional Manager of SBA International Finance Programs. He&rsquo;s a fan of the <a href="">&ldquo;Take Your Business Global&rdquo; training course</a>, available in the online Learning Center. It can help you generate questions that you may not have previously thought of before you meet with a potential mentor or program representative, he explained.</p> <p>Danielle Ellingston of the Washington Department of Commerce STEP Grant Program touted the benefits of visiting <a href=""></a> and using its &ldquo;<a href="">Country Commercial Guides</a>&rdquo; to help you conduct research. offers information about trade shows, training, finances and more.</p> <p><strong>Are there financial resources or programs available to help my exporting efforts? </strong></p> <p>Yes! SBA has a number of programs to help, and again Balatero gave us the scoop. The <a href="">International Trade Loan Program</a> (ITL) provides small businesses with financing options for a combination of fixed asset, working capital and related debt refinancing. Do you need additional equipment, machinery or improved facilities to meet an order request? The ITL can help.</p> <p>Are you looking for working capital to support labor or to buy raw materials to produce more of your product? The <a href="">Export Working Capital</a> (EWCP) loan can be tailored specifically to a purchase order, contract or multiple contracts on a revolving line of credit basis. It also has a quick processing time.</p> <p>John Brislin, Director of Seattle&rsquo;s Regional Office of Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, also shed some light on products available to help finance and in insure your exports. The Ex-Im Bank website has a <a href="">section devoted to small business owners</a>, so check out the programs and offerings they have, including <em>Global Credit Express </em>(a working capital line of credit) and various trade credit insurance options.</p> <p>These SBA programs can help you access the capital you need to export, and the bank will also help you work through other questions you may have about your finances and exporting. On the St. Louis panel, we heard a few examples. For instance, what are your precise capital and cash flow needs? To what extent is there foreign exchange risk? What happens if things don&rsquo;t go as planned? You can discuss these kinds of issues with your bank to mitigate the credit and foreign exchange risks you&rsquo;ll face as a seller.</p> <p><strong>How can I best prepare for when I use one of these resources? </strong></p> <p><em>&ldquo;What&rsquo;s critical to understand is that when you go to one of these resources &ndash; whether it be a mentor or organizations that have the resources you need to complete that transaction &ndash; is that you be prepared to effectively talk with them.&rdquo;</em> &ndash; Terry Chambers, SBDC, International Trade, Export Readiness Center</p> <p>&ldquo;Do your homework,&rdquo; says Ellingston. Make sure you really know your product or service that you&rsquo;re planning to export. Have an idea of the market you want to go into and make sure to have done research. Get a good sense of where you want to go so your mentors and advisors can help you figure out how to get there.</p> <p>A business plan was another agreed upon essential during the Seattle panel. Brislin also highlighted the importance of providing recent financial information or analysis with your plan. Wondering where to get started with yours? Check out SBA&rsquo;s &ldquo;<a href="">Build Your Business Plan</a>&rdquo; tool, which guides you through the process of creating a basic, downloadable business plan. You can develop your plan in smaller chunks of time, save your progress and return at your leisure.</p> <p><strong>How do I figure out where I should I export my product or service? </strong></p> <p>Ellingston indicated that people generally explore exporting starting with countries they&rsquo;re familiar with, where they have spent time growing up or have family. This is a good place to start, she says, but you should also be aware that there might be other markets that are a better fit for your product. Ask yourself: Where have I been successful already? Where does that market exist elsewhere in terms of GDP per capita, culture of the people, what kinds of products those people are looking for, etc.? Again, check out;s &ldquo;Country Commercial Guides&rdquo; to help you examine your market.</p> <p>Another way you can gain insight about where there may be success &ndash; or where you should maybe <em>avoid</em> exporting &ndash; is by checking out industry association meetings, according to Brislin. And Tony Clayton of Clayton Agri-Marketing, Inc. suggested also attending trade shows. See who&rsquo;s there, what kind of products they&rsquo;re exporting and find out what problems they&rsquo;re facing. With everyone in one place for a few days, he said, it&rsquo;s a great time to learn secrets and gain insight about market interests. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Additional Resources:</strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="">U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs)</a> &ndash; Your local USEAC is staffed by professionals from the SBA, the Department of Commerce, the U.S. Ex-Im Bank, and other public and private organizations to provide export assistance for your small business.</li> <li> <a href="">6 Steps to Assess Your Small Business&rsquo; Readiness to Export</a></li> <li> <a href="">8 Ways the U.S. Government Can Help You Finance Your Small Business Exports</a></li> <li> <a href="">SBA&rsquo;s Export Express Loans</a> &ndash;&nbsp;This short video describes SBA&rsquo;s Export Express Program, a loan program designed to help small businesses achieve exporting success.</li> </ul> Small Business Matters International Managing Mentoring and Training Wed, 14 Aug 2013 11:37:18 +0000 kmurray 751193 at Launch of U.S. Global Business Solutions Pilot: U.S. Government Solutions for Small Business Exporters <p>When the President challenged the nation to double exports in five years, U.S. government agencies worked closely together to increase access to export financing and foreign market opportunities.</p> <p>Under a new, multi-agency initiative, several federal agencies collaborated to combine their trade finance programs and export marketing services into a one-stop platform. <strong>U.S. Global Business Solutions, </strong>a new approach for assessing and meeting the business needs of small business exporters, will be piloted for six months beginning this week. A group of diverse lenders will test the program throughout the country.</p> <p>Global Business Solutions will:</p> <ul> <li style="margin-left: 0.5in;"> <u>Reduce complexity</u> for both exporters and lenders by packaging trade financing and marketing options from several agencies that seamlessly meet exporter needs;</li> <li style="margin-left: 0.5in;"> <u>Streamline access</u> to international experts, financial products, and business services for exporters;</li> <li style="margin-left: 0.5in;"> <u>Establish a network of lending partners</u> that are prepared and committed to meeting the financing needs of small business exporters.</li> </ul> <p>This new, &lsquo;whole-of-government&rsquo; approach for meeting small business exporter needs is exciting for SBA, our sister agencies and our lending partners.&nbsp; &nbsp;We&rsquo;re pleased to have such innovative partners in the lending community who have risen to the challenge to provide the export financing necessary for small businesses to succeed in the global marketplace.</p> <p>Lenders are being trained in seven financial products and seven marketing services that will meet most small business exporters&rsquo; needs, with additional information on six other financing options for specialized needs.&nbsp; Together, six federal agencies are behind this initiative, including <a href="">SBA</a>, <a href="">Export-Import Bank</a>, <a href="">Department of Commerce&#39;s Commercial Service</a>, <a href="">U.S. Trade and Development Agency</a>,<a href=""> U.S. Department of Agriculture&#39;s Foreign Agriculture Service</a> and <a href="">Overseas Private Investment Corporation</a>.</p> <p>A full-scale rollout of the pilot is expected in early 2014. For more information on the U.S. Global Business Solutions initiative, please contact the SBA representative in your local <a href="">U.S. Export Assistance Center</a>.&nbsp;</p> Open For Business International SBA News and Views Wed, 26 Jun 2013 18:41:52 +0000 Dario Gomez 690861 at A Wealth of International Resources for the American Small Business <p>One of the biggest challenges to both current and potential exporters is access to accurate, reliable information about the markets they want to tap. One of the most common ways large exporters address this issue is by contracting &ldquo;expert&rdquo; help in each country or region where they do business, that is, a local representative or source in position to provide both information and market analysis. This type of service can be -and usually is- costly. If you happen to be a large exporter, cost may not be a major issue, but for small exporters this challenge can be daunting.</p> <p>Enter&nbsp;<strong>Direct Line</strong>. The State Department&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="">Direct Line to American Business</a>&nbsp;program allows small businesses direct access to U.S. Ambassadors, mission teams and foreign government officials to explore market opportunities in their respective countries. Through one-on-one conference calls with U.S. officials abroad, Direct Line provides important and timely information to interested American exporters about how to do business in any particular country. Discussions range from what the best investment opportunities are in the current climate, to analysis of subsector activities in your business area. After a brief overview and guided discussion, participants ask questions to get further insights from experts in the field and the foreign government officials directly responsible for planning and procurement in specific areas. Whatever your focus, Direct Line has the answers to your questions.&nbsp;</p> <p>Exporting is increasingly becoming one of the most important factors in the U.S economic recovery, as clearly reflected by the priority given the National Export Initiative. It is in that context that the U.S. government, through several agencies, provides a wealth of information, resources, counseling and many other services to help U.S. exporters expand their share of the international market.</p> <p>One such resource is the new&nbsp;<u>Business Tab</u>&nbsp;found at the top of every U.S. Embassy and Consulate homepage, which offers further support to U.S. small businesses interested in expanding their international portfolio. Business Tab provides a wealth of country-specific information, from key financial reports to news on other agency programs, such as what the&nbsp;<a href="">International Trade Administration</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="">U.S. Department of Agriculture</a>&nbsp; are doing to assist U.S. businesses overseas. Explore where your business fits in by visiting&nbsp;<a href=""></a>&nbsp;for links to all embassy and consulate websites.</p> <p>Also, be sure to watch out for the launch of a new interactive platform known as the&nbsp;<u>Business Information Database System</u>&nbsp;(BIDS), which is likely to rollout in the next six months. BIDS will internally manage and deliver information on foreign government business and procurement opportunities to U.S. companies, expediting and informing your business decisions.</p> <p>As always, visit&nbsp;<a href=""></a>&nbsp;to learn more about the SBA Office of International Trade and see the various types of export assistance that are available to your small business.&nbsp;</p> Open For Business International Fri, 21 Jun 2013 14:08:50 +0000 Dario Gomez 680391 at 8 Ways the U.S. Government Can Help You Finance Your Small Business Exports <p><img alt="Export Loans" src="/sites/default/files/images/ExportLoans.JPG" style="float: right;" />Looking to expand into overseas markets?</p> <p>Whether you are entering the export market, looking to upgrade your equipment or facilities in preparation for exporting, or helping your international buyers do business with you &ndash; there&rsquo;s a U.S. government financing program that can help.</p> <p>With two thirds of the world&rsquo;s purchasing power residing outside the U.S., the SBA is acutely aware that these global consumers play an important role in the long-term success of America&#39;s small businesses, and SBA is working to help small business owners across the country grow their businesses in this global economy.</p> <p>In fact, small businesses now constitute 34 percent of total export dollars, and comprise approximately 97.8 percent of all exporters. Of course, success in exporting doesn&rsquo;t just lie with financing.&nbsp; SBA also provides counseling and training (via <a href="" title="U.S. Export Centers">U.S. Export Assistance Centers</a> and SBA&rsquo;s online <a href="" title="SBA Learning Center">Learning Center</a>) to ensure that small businesses have the tools they need to tap into the global market. Since FY 2009, SBA has guaranteed 6,400 loans to small business exporters worth over $3.3 billion, generating over $6.3 billion in exports.</p> <p>So what financing programs are available? Both SBA and the <a href="" title="Export-Import Bank">Export-Import Bank</a> (the official export credit agency of the United States) offer flexible loan and credit programs. Here&rsquo;s what you need to know:</p> <p><strong>SBA Export Loans &ndash; Financing Your Working Capital Needs, Export Transactions, and Facility Upgrades </strong></p> <p>Let&rsquo;s start with the simplest and quickest loan product that the SBA offers &ndash; the <a href="" title="SBA Export Express"><strong>SBA Export Express Program</strong></a>. This loan program offers eligible small businesses up to $500,000 in financing. As with all SBA financing programs, SBA doesn&rsquo;t lend business the money directly. Instead, it provides a guarantee to the lending bank or institution that in turn lends your business the money &ndash; alleviating the investment risk for the bank. What this means is you will work directly with your bank to obtain your loan. Assuming everything is good with your application, loans can be approved by the SBA within 36 hours or less.</p> <p>You can use these funds for any export development activity &ndash; including financing specific export orders or expanding production facilities. You can also purchase equipment, inventory or real estate and translate marketing literature into a foreign language. It&rsquo;s also the only government loan that funds participation in tradeshows or trade missions.</p> <p>Learn more about the program and eligibility requirements on SBA&rsquo;s <a href="" title="More information about Export Express">Export Express Loan Program</a> page.</p> <p>If you are already in a position in which you are able to generate export sales and need additional working capital to support these sales or ensure you don&rsquo;t lose them, take a look at SBA&rsquo;s <a href="" title="Export Working Capital Program"><strong>Export Working Capital Program</strong></a> (EWCP). EWCP loans again are provided through banks, and fund export transactions, including labor and materials, from purchase order to collections. They can help you even out cash flow as you support longer export sales cycles. Loans are available up to $5 million and can support short-term needs such as a single contract of ongoing export sales over 12 months. <a href="" title="More information about Export Working Capital Program">Read more here</a>.</p> <p>If you need to upgrade your facilities or equipment and are adversely affected by import competition, you might be eligible for SBA&rsquo;s <a href="" title="International Trade Loan Program"><strong>International Trade Loan Program</strong></a>. It provides up to $5 million to acquire, construct, renovate, modernize, improve, or expand facilities and equipment in support of exporting. You can also use the funds to refinance an existing loan. However, they can&rsquo;t be used as working capital. Read more about <a href="" title="International Trade Loan Program eligibility and applications process">eligibility and the applications process</a>.</p> <p><strong>U.S. Export-Import Bank &ndash; Financing For Your International Buyers and More</strong></p> <p>The <a href="">U.S. Export-Import Bank</a> (Ex-Im Bank) is an official U.S. government credit agency that assists businesses of all size with their export financing needs. Ex-Im Bank essentially fills gaps in trade financing and assumes credit and country risks that many commercial lenders are unable or unwilling to accept.</p> <p>Like the SBA, Ex-Im bank offers a <a href="" title="Working Capital Guarantee Program"><strong>Working Capital Guarantee Program</strong></a> for small business exporters through lending partners with whom it has agreements. There is no limit to the loan amount (unlike SBA&rsquo;s Working Capital Program, which caps out at $5 million).</p> <p>Ex-Im Bank also offers financing for your international buyers, for example, if your purchasers need financing to purchase U.S. goods and services and no other financing is available or interest rates aren&rsquo;t in their favor. Financing may also be available for refurbished equipment, software, certain banking and legal fees, and other in-country costs and expenses. Three programs are offered:</p> <ul> <li> <a href="" title="Ex-Im Bank Loan Guarantee Program">Ex-Im Bank &ndash; Loan Guarantee Program</a> &ndash; Gives you some level of risk mitigation against non-payment by a foreign buyer or having the order go to a local competitor. Your foreign buyer is the lender and they must service the debt.</li> <li> <a href="" title="Ex-In Bank Direct Loan Program">Ex-Im Bank &ndash; Direct Loan Program</a> &ndash; Provides fixed-rate financing to creditworthy buyers.</li> <li> <a href="" title="Ex-Im Bank Finance Lease Guarantee Program">Ex-Im Bank &ndash; Finance Lease Guarantee Program</a> &ndash; Guarantees lease financing of U.S. goods and services to creditworthy international lessees.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Other Export Financing Sources</strong></p> <p>The USDA also provides export financing to your international buyers by providing credit guarantees to foreign banks to encourage food and agricultural exports to buyers in countries where credit is necessary to maintain or increase U.S. sales, but where financing may not be available without the guarantees. Read more about <a href="" title="USDA Export Guarantee Program">USDA Export Guarantee Programs</a>.</p> <p><strong>More Information</strong></p> <p>For more information about any of these loan programs, contact your local <a href="" title="U.S. Export Assistance Center">U.S Export Assistance Center</a>. These offices are staffed by officials from SBA, the Export-Import Bank and other organizations that can help you find the right financing for your needs. To help with your wide exporting goals, take a look at <a href="" title="">;s</a> variety of programs and support.</p> <p>Also check out this useful <a href="" title="Compare export assistance financing programs">side-by-side comparison of U.S. government export assistance financing programs</a>.</p> <p><img alt="Compare Export Loans" src="/sites/default/files/images/Export_Comparison.JPG" /></p> Small Business Cents Financing International Tue, 28 May 2013 11:24:58 +0000 Caron_Beesley 640711 at Watch Our World Trade Month Google+ Hangout to Learn about Exporting <p>SBA recently hosted a Google+ Hangout to honor World Trade Month. The panel of guests talked about common &ldquo;rookie mistakes&rdquo; and listed many resources that can help small businesses get started exporting.</p> <p>You can watch the Hangout below.&nbsp; If you have any questions about exporting, you can tweet them using the hashtag #TradeChat.</p> <p class="rtecenter" style=""><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Resources</strong></p> <p><a href="" title="businessusa"></a><br /> <a href="" title="exporting"></a><br /> <a href="" title=""></a><br /> <a href="" title="advocacy"></a><br /> <a href="" title=""></a><br /> <a href="" title=""></a><br /> <a href="" title=""></a><br /> <a href="" title="YouTube"></a></p> <p><strong>Participants</strong></p> <p><strong>Al Youngwerth</strong> (CEO of Rekluse &amp; SBA&rsquo;s 2012 Exporter of the Year), <strong>Brian Kim</strong> (BBCN Bank Los Angeles &amp; SBA&rsquo;s 2013 Export Lender of the Year), <strong>Andy Park</strong> (UPS Customer Technology Marketing), <strong>Dario Gomez</strong>&nbsp; and <strong>Jordan Valdes</strong> (SBA Office of International Trade), <strong>Antwaun Griffin</strong> (ITA Domestic Operations)</p> Open For Business Financing International SBA News and Views Wed, 22 May 2013 20:39:14 +0000 Stephen Morris 635301 at Watch the Winners of the SBA and Visa Export Video Contest <p>Did you know that the world&rsquo;s population already surpasses 7 billion?</p> <p>Did you know that more than 95 percent of the world&rsquo;s consumers live outside the United States?</p> <p>U.S. exports of goods and services accounted for 14 percent of the national GDP in 2008 and climbed to 14 percent in 2012. These numbers show the growing role exports are playing in our nation&rsquo;s economic recovery.</p> <p>The surprising fact about these numbers is that only less than one percent of the 30 million plus companies in the U.S. are engaged in exporting. Can you imagine the scenario if instead of one percent it were two percent?</p> <p>Clearly, the potential of exports as a major economic engine cannot be overstated, that&rsquo;s why, in his 2010 State of the Union address, President Obama announced the National Export Initiative as an effort and a challenge to promote American exports. Two years later, there is evidence that those efforts are paying off: In 2012, U.S. exports hit an all-time record of $2.2 trillion and supported 9.8 million jobs.</p> <p>The core mission of the U.S. Small Business Administration is to help small businesses start, grow and create jobs; the foundation of an economy built to last. Helping small business exporters succeed in the global market is a critical part of that agenda, which SBA carries out through financial assistance, training, counseling and a wide array of export-support services in collaboration with other federal agencies and partners in the private sector.</p> <p>One example of such collaboration is the annual export video contest that SBA and Visa, Inc., have been co-sponsoring since 2011. It is designed to encourage small business exporters to share, via a short video, their success stories and small practices as an inspiration for other small businesses to explore exporting as a viable, profitable option.</p> <p>Five video entries are selected as winners based on the following criteria:</p> <ul> <li> Inspirational nature of the message for potential exporters and effectiveness in promoting exporting</li> <li> Creativity and uniqueness of video concept</li> <li> Value of lessons learned/communicated</li> <li> Use of U.S. Government program/service</li> <li> Innovative means of delivering the message</li> <li> Audio and visual quality of the video</li> </ul> <p>The awards include monetary incentives that range from $2,000 for fifth place to $10,000 for first place. This year&rsquo;s winners were:</p> <ul> <li> First place: Bassets Ice Cream of Philadelphia, with an entry titled &ldquo;<a href="" title="Video">Scooping Up International Sales</a>&rdquo;</li> <li> Second place: REKLUSE of Boise, ID, with &ldquo;<a href="">Exporting Success</a>&quot;</li> <li> Third place: Premier Choice Inc, DBA Perfect Bite of San Jose, Calif., with &ldquo;&lsquo;<a href="">Fruits&#39; of Our Labor</a>&rdquo;</li> <li> Fourth place: MMIC of Johnsbury, Vermont, with &ldquo;<a href="">MMIC What We Do</a>&rdquo;</li> <li> Fifth place: CID Bio-Science of Camas, Wash., with &ldquo;<a href="">The World and Beyond</a>&rdquo;</li> </ul> <p>The awards were presented on May 16 by SBA Associate Administrator for the Office of International Trade Dario Gomez at the World Trade Day conference in Denver, where SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns was a keynote speaker. Also recognized was the winner of SBA 2013 Exporter of the Year award, Zeigler Bros., Inc. (ZBI), like Bassett Ice Cream, another firm from Pennsylvania. ZBI is engaged in the research, development and production of nutritional solutions for the aquaculture, pet/zoo and lab/biomedical industries.</p> <p>As Johns said, these firms are prime examples that &ldquo;exporting is a profitable, rewarding path to success.&rdquo;</p> <p>As a business owner, you may feel that you&rsquo;re doing pretty well so far but, let&rsquo;s face it, if you can substantially increase your bottom line and in the process help the nation&rsquo;s economy, wouldn&rsquo;t you say that&rsquo;s an enticing proposition?</p> <p>Remember the numbers: 95 percent of the world&rsquo;s consumers live outside the U.S &hellip; and that&rsquo;s a huge market! Getting a piece of that pie doesn&rsquo;t have to be a dream deferred; it&rsquo;s as close as a click or phone call away through the SBA. To &ldquo;borrow&rdquo; a popular slogan: &ldquo;Just Do It!&rdquo;</p> <p>For more information about SBA programs and services to help small business exporters, visit <a href=""></a><a href="">xporting</a></p> Open For Business International SBA News and Views Thu, 16 May 2013 19:24:44 +0000 ngoriel 627851 at Need Help Exporting? Join SBA’s Google+ Hangout for Tips to Get You Started <p>Thinking about exporting, but don&rsquo;t know where to start? &nbsp;As part of <a href="" title="WTM">World Trade Month</a>, SBA will host a Google+ Hangout on May 22. The hangout will highlight ways that business can use federal government resources to increase exports.</p> <p><strong>When: </strong></p> <p class="rteindent1">Wednesday, May 22 at 3pm ET</p> <p><strong>Who:</strong></p> <ul> <li> Dario Gomez, U.S. Small Business Administration, Associate Administrator for International Trade</li> <li> Antwaun Griffin, U.S. Department of Commerce- International Trade Administration, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Domestic Operations</li> <li> Dontai Smalls, UPS, Vice President for Public Affairs</li> <li> Al Youngworth, CEO of Rekluse and SBA&rsquo;s Exporter of the Year</li> <li> Brian Kim, BBCN Bank Los Angeles and SBA&rsquo;s Export Lender of the Year</li> </ul> <p><strong>Watch:</strong></p> <p class="rteindent1">Watch the Hangout live at <a href="">SBA&#39;s Google+ page</a> or <a href="">SBA&#39;s YouTube Channel</a></p> <p><strong>Join the Conversation:</strong></p> <p class="rteindent1">Submit your questions via Twitter using the hashtag <a href=";src=typd">#TradeChat</a></p> Open For Business Financing International SBA News and Views Tue, 14 May 2013 22:25:43 +0000 Stephen Morris 623951 at Join the US Government for #TradeChat and Get Your Exporting Questions Answered <p>Export, trade and finance related agencies across the federal government are teaming up during World Trade Month - May 2013 - to host a series of Twitter Q&amp;A&rsquo;s for U.S. companies. &nbsp;Businesses can participate by tweeting their questions using the hashtag <strong>#TradeChat</strong> during the scheduled times.</p> <p><img alt="Twitter chat" src="/sites/default/files/images/TwitterChat_option1.jpg" style="width: 350px; margin: 5px; float: right;" /></p> <p>This Twitter chat series will provide U.S. companies with exporting solutions, including information on the resources available to begin or expand exporting goods and services to overseas markets. The Twitter chats will also provide an opportunity for firms to ask questions and connect directly with the U.S. government agencies that support President Obama&rsquo;s National Export Initiative (NEI) and <a href="" title="BusinessUSA"></a> &ndash; a new one-stop resource for small businesses and exporters.</p> <p><strong>Schedule and topics:</strong></p> <p><strong>Thursday, May 9<sup>th</sup> at 2:00pm EDT: Export Opportunities</strong></p> <p>Information about export assistance, international business partnership programs, match-making, and market research will be shared. U.S. companies will also learn about the new <a href=""></a> website and how this one-stop resource can help businesses begin exporting or increase their exports.</p> <p><strong>Thursday, May 16<sup>th</sup> at 2:00pm EDT:&nbsp; Financing</strong></p> <p>Export financing is often a key factor in a successful sale. U.S. companies should be aware of the many financing options available from U.S. government agencies to assist them with the export and trade process. This Twitter chat will provide firms with more information about the available financing options, including buyer financing, insuring foreign receivables, and working capital loans and guarantees.</p> <p><strong>Thursday, May 23<sup>rd</sup> at 2:00pm EDT:&nbsp; Training and Travel Opportunities</strong></p> <p>U.S. government agencies often host training, webinars, workshops, seminars, trade missions and trade fairs for U.S. companies interested in doing business overseas. This Twitter chat will provide firms with the knowledge they need to utilize these resources and events and connect directly with foreign buyers.</p> <p><strong>Joining the discussion</strong></p> <p>To participate, at the starting time, sign into your Twitter account and submit a question on the topic using hashtag #TradeChat. Agencies will respond to as many Tweets and questions on the topic as possible. Questions can also be submitted in advance using the online form on <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>For information the Twitter chat series, visit <a href=""></a> .&nbsp; A live feed of the chats will be broadcasted and archived on USTDA&rsquo;s website for individuals who are not connected to Twitter. &nbsp;</p> <p>Highlights from the Twitter chat series will also be available on Storify at</p> <p><a href=""></a></p> <p><strong>Participating Agencies and Organizations</strong></p> <p><a href="">The U.S. Trade and Development Agency</a><br /> <a href="">International Trade Administration</a><br /> <a href="">Small Business Administration</a><br /> <a href="">BusinessUSA</a><br /> <a href="">Overseas Private Investment Corporation</a><br /> <a href="">Export-Import Bank of the United States</a><br /> <a href="">The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative<br /> D</a><a href="">epartment of State</a></p> Open For Business Financing International Managing SBA News and Views Mon, 29 Apr 2013 18:15:44 +0000 Stephen Morris 597121 at 40th Annual World Trade Day Celebration, May 16, 2013, Denver, Colorado <p><strong>Plug In to the Global Economy:&nbsp; How Technology Impacts Trade</strong></p> <p>How does technology impact international trade? And how can it help your small business? This year&rsquo;s 40th Annual World Trade Day on Thursday, May 16, 2013 gives businesses the chance to ask just that and to discover how recent innovations in technology can facilitate their operations and bolster their bottom line. From supply-chain management to social media marketing and team collaboration, there are a multitude of new technology tools that allow small businesses to do more across the globe than ever before.</p> <p>Also at this event, look out for:</p> <ul> <li> An in-room valuable networking opportunity with nearly <u>500 international business professionals</u> highlighting the value of technology tools for international trade and business;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li> Speeches from <u>Michael Dreyer</u>, Chief Information Officer of Visa and <u>Yuri Aguiar</u>, Chief Information Officer of Ogilvy &amp; Mather Worldwide;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li> Engage in the day-long <em><u>techXpo</u></em>, where companies will demonstrate their tools for your learning and benefit;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li> <u>SBA&rsquo;s Exporter of the Year</u> will be announced to recognize the country&rsquo;s most outstanding small business exporter;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li> <u>SBA&rsquo;s Export Video Contest Winner</u>, presented in partnership with Visa and the National Export Initiative, will award monetary prizes to five successful small business exporters representing a variety of industries.</li> </ul> <p>To attend or register for the event, go to: <a href="" title="World Trade Center Denver"></a>. For more information, write to: <a href="" title="e-mail Jordan Valdes"></a>.</p> <p><strong>Date:</strong> May 16, 2013<br /> <strong>Time:</strong> 8 a.m.- 6:30 p.m.<br /> <strong>Location: </strong>Infinity Park Event Center, Glendale, Colorado</p> Open For Business International Fri, 19 Apr 2013 21:10:41 +0000 Dario Gomez 580381 at 6 Legal Factors to Consider When Hiring Global Employees <p>Are you thinking of hiring overseas-based employees? Whether you are operating an overseas branch of your own business or looking for specific skill sets that aren&rsquo;t readily available here at home &ndash; there can be benefits to hiring overseas employees, but there are also challenges.</p> <p>How do you make sure your staff turns up for work on time? How do you hold them accountable and keep them motivated? What about communication across different languages, cultures and time zones? These are all concerns and challenges that many business owners have faced and their suggestions for tackling them are discussed in this guide from The New York Times: <a href=";_r=1&amp;" title="Link to New York Times article">Running a Business With Staff Scattered Around the World</a>.</p> <p>But what about the legal and regulatory side of managing employees in other countries? Labor laws will likely differ from those in the U.S., so it&rsquo;s important to understand those laws before you make your first overseas hire. For example, U.S. <a href="" title="Information about &quot;at-will&quot; employment laws">&ldquo;at-will&rdquo; employment laws</a> don&rsquo;t apply overseas. Most countries demand that employers have a concrete reason to fire someone (whereas most U.S. states permit employers to terminate any employee at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all).</p> <p>What other factors of foreign labor law should you consider?</p> <p>Ben Macaluso, writing for the <a href="" title="Link to Denver Business Journal">Denver Business Journal,&nbsp;</a>suggests that U.S. employers watch out for the following:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Time Off Laws</strong> &ndash; Foreign companies, most notably Europe and Australia, are very generous in their vacation, sick and maternity leave policies. Certain countries also extend leave policies to encompass other activities such as building homes or career development.</li> <li> <strong>The Power of Unions </strong>&ndash; Unions carry a lot of weight overseas and employee benefits and work conditions are strongly controlled by these. For example, you might not be able to change existing policy or conditions without union approval.</li> <li> <strong>Non</strong>-<strong>Compete Agreements</strong> &ndash; Many U.S. businesses write non-compete agreements into employee contracts. Foreign countries generally prohibit these.</li> <li> <strong>Notice </strong>&ndash; How much notice you are required to give in the event of a lay off or firing also varies overseas.</li> </ul> <p>Some U.S. laws also apply when it comes to hiring employees in other countries, for example:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Bribes</strong> &ndash; U.S. federal law prohibits corruption in the form of payments to foreign officials for business favors.</li> <li> <strong>Employee Privacy </strong>&ndash; Other countries may have strict laws that govern what employee information you can share publicly (even apparently harmless records such as an employee directory could run the risk of violating privacy laws).</li> </ul> <p>To ensure you are complying with local labor and tax laws, consult in-country experts who are familiar with business and regulatory matters in the country you intend to base employees out of.</p> <p><strong>Additional Resources</strong></p> <ul> <li> <a>Buying a Small Business Overseas &ndash; 5 Tips for a Smooth Transaction</a></li> </ul> <div> &nbsp;</div> <p>&nbsp;</p> Business Law Advisor International Managing Wed, 03 Apr 2013 11:47:33 +0000 Caron_Beesley 556531 at US Global Business Solutions: US Government Solutions for Small Business Exporters <p>When the President challenged the nation to double exports in five years, U.S. government agencies started working more closely together to make it easier for businesses to access foreign market opportunities and for lenders to provide the financing that exporters need.</p> <p>Under a new, multi-agency initiative, several federal agencies are collaborating to combine their trade financing programs and export marketing services into a one-stop platform: &nbsp;<strong>U.S. Global Business Solutions, </strong>a new approach for assessing and meeting the business needs of small business exporters.&nbsp; US-GBS will be launched at the 6<sup>th</sup> Annual SBA Export Lenders&rsquo; Roundtable, April 3, in Washington, D.C.&nbsp;</p> <p>This new initiative will:</p> <ul> <li> <u>Reduce complexity</u> for both exporters and lenders by packaging trade financing and marketing options that seamlessly meet exporter needs;</li> <li> <u>Simplify marketing materials</u>, while <u>increasing lender training</u> to meet the needs of financial institutions; and,</li> <li> <u>Streamline access</u> to international experts, financial products, and business services for exporters.</li> </ul> <p>As businesses of all sizes increasingly recognize the opportunities for selling products and services abroad, lenders will be remain a critical partner in their expansion plans. &nbsp;&nbsp;Now is a great time to learn how to continue to support your customers as they expand their sales into global markets, while mitigating some of the real, and perceived, risk with US government guarantees and insurance.</p> <p>&nbsp;If you are unable to attend the SBA&rsquo;s Export Lenders Roundtable, please contact the SBA representative in your local U.S. Export Assistance Center.&nbsp; For a directory, go to:&nbsp; <a href="" title="website" type="website"><u></u></a>. This program is open to lenders only.&nbsp; Please send inquires and RSVPs to: <a href=""><u></u></a>.</p> <p><strong>Date:</strong> Wednesday, April 3, 2013</p> <p><strong>Time:</strong> 8:30-1:00 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Location: </strong>Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center</p> <p>13th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., NW</p> <p>Washington, D.C.</p> <p>(Federal Triangle Metro Station)</p> Open For Business International SBA News and Views Tue, 02 Apr 2013 18:00:43 +0000 Dennis Chrisbaum 555111 at Need Exporting Assistance? Small Business Development Centers Can Help <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Have you considered the potential for selling your products or services outside the U.S.?&nbsp; Your local <a href="" title="website" type="website">Small Business Development Center (SBDC)</a>, an SBA resource partner, can help you get started.</p> <p>The many international trade services offered by individual SBDCs vary, but most often include:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Product/Service Readiness:</strong> &nbsp;Determine if your products or services are suitable for export, and what product adaptations may be required.</li> <li> <strong>Export Readiness</strong>: Learn if your company meets the key export readiness factors or, what you need to do to become ready.</li> <li> <strong>Market Research</strong>: Review possible trade barriers, political and economic risks and competitors, in order to identify and rank the best foreign market opportunities.</li> <li> <strong>Documentation/Compliance</strong>: Learn how to comply with export regulations, product classification, in-country governmental requirements and the effective use of freight forwarders.</li> <li> <strong>Trade Finance</strong>: Learn how the trade finance programs of the <a href="">SBA</a>, the <a href="">Export-Import Bank of the U.S.</a> and the <a href="">Overseas Private Investment Corporation</a>&nbsp;may help you.</li> <li> &nbsp;<strong>Partner Identification</strong>: Get connected to potential sales with <a href="">U.S. Commercial Service</a> services such as <em>Gold Key</em> or <em>International Partner Search</em>. SBDCs can also advise you of individual state trade assistance programs and incentives.</li> <li> <strong>Specialized Areas</strong>: Some SBDCs offer assistance in specialized areas such as product certification (i.e. CE Mark, CCC, etc.).</li> </ul> <p>If you think you have a product or service with foreign trade potential, or are already exporting and want to grow those sales, <a href="">contact your local SBDC</a> for assistance.</p> Open For Business International SBA News and Views Fri, 29 Mar 2013 17:25:36 +0000 Stephen Sullivan 553461 at How to Finance Your Export Sales <p>As I covered in my pervious blog, &nbsp;<a href="" title="website" type="website"><u>How to Get Paid for Your Export Sales</u></a>, each of the four international methods of payments which include cash-in-advance, letter-of-credit, documentary collections and open account can have an impact on your company&rsquo;s financing needs when filling overseas orders. Those needs can be broken down into either pre-shipment or post-shipment working capital.</p> <p><strong><u>Pre-Shipment:</u></strong> &nbsp;If you receive a purchase order from a foreign buyer, you will have a pre-shipment working capital need (the funds to hire labor, buy supplies and materials, etc., to produce the order):</p> <ul> <li> unless you require cash-in-advance before you start production; and/or</li> <li> you receive progress payments throughout the production cycle.</li> </ul> <p>If your payment terms are simply cash-in-advance prior to shipment, or even a letter-of-credit that is payable upon shipment, you will still need to fund the entire pre-shipment production cycle. Will your order be produced in 15 or 30 days, or is it a customized piece of equipment that takes nine months to build? The pre-shipment working capital need could be substantial depending on the size of the order and the production cycle.&nbsp;</p> <p><u><strong>Post-Shipment:</strong></u>&nbsp; If you don&rsquo;t get paid upon shipment, you will need to carry accounts receivable on your books. Maybe you have enough working capital to produce a short production cycle order, but you have to offer 90-day terms to the buyer in order to secure the contract.&nbsp; You will need to keep your business moving during that time, which will require working capital to support the foreign A/R.&nbsp;</p> <p>You might be able to factor the accounts receivable, or you could insure them through a private insurance company or the <a href=""><u>Export-Import Bank of the U.S.</u></a> which will move the risk from what may be an unknown foreign buyer to the U.S. government or larger insurer, allowing you to borrow against the insured overseas A/R.</p> <p>How can you finance your pre-shipment and/or post-shipment export working capital needs?&nbsp; The SBA has three loan programs that may work for you:</p> <ul> <li> <a href=""><u>Export Express</u></a> has a $500,000 maximum and is ideal for new exporters or those with relatively small orders;</li> <li> <a href=""><u>Export Working Capital Program</u></a> has a $5,000,000 maximum which may only be used to finance export transactions&mdash;from purchase order to collections; and</li> <li> <a href=""><u>CAPlines</u></a> has a $5,000,000 maximum which is a revolving line of credit that can support both domestic A/R and insured foreign A/R.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Visit <a href=""><u></u></a> for a list of lenders active in these programs.&nbsp; You also will find a listing for SBA&rsquo;s trade finance specialists located in 19 U.S. Export Assistance Centers across the country who can provide additional information on export financing questions.</p> Open For Business International SBA News and Views Thu, 28 Mar 2013 23:42:08 +0000 Dennis Chrisbaum 553191 at How to Get Paid for Your Export Sales <p>Ultimately, any sale is a gift until you get paid.&nbsp; However, understanding how to get paid for an export sale is especially important, since your buyer could be 10,000 miles away.&nbsp; There are four common ways to get paid for an international order. From the most, to the least, secure method of payment for the exporter, these are:</p> <p>1.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>Cash-in-advance- </strong>New exporters frequently request this method. Their attitude typically is, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know you very well, but if you send me the money I&rsquo;ll send you the goods.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li> <u>Advantage:</u> The exporter gets paid before the shipment leaves the U.S.</li> <li> <u>Buyer&rsquo;s Perspective:</u> It is high risk. The money is gone with only the exporter&rsquo;s promise to deliver.</li> <li> <u>Drawback:</u> It limits the exporter&rsquo;s sales potential; is non-competitive; and ties up the importer&rsquo;s cash.</li> </ul> <p>2.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>Letter-of-credit- </strong>Letters of credit (L/C) substitute the creditworthiness of the importer and exporter with that of their respective banks.</p> <ul> <li> <u>Advantage:</u> &nbsp;The exporter will be paid if the terms and conditions of the L/C are met.</li> <li> <u>Buyer&rsquo;s Perspective:</u> The funds won&rsquo;t be released until shipment is made and terms are met.</li> <li> <u>Drawback:</u> There are fees associated with opening and amending L/C; the importer&rsquo;s cash is tied-up.</li> </ul> <p>3.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>Documentary collections- </strong>This method uses the banking system to send documents to the importer.</p> <ul> <li> <u>Advantage:</u> The goods are not released until importer pays or agrees to pay.</li> <li> <u>Buyer&rsquo;s perspective</u>: Payment is delayed until goods are close to being delivered.</li> <li> <u>Drawback:</u> No guaranty of payment; banks only act as intermediaries.</li> </ul> <p>4.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>Open account- </strong>Open account terms for international sales are similar to domestic open account sales. The buyer agrees to pay in a set number of days&mdash;typically 30, 60, or 90&mdash;from the invoice, shipment or delivery date.</p> <ul> <li> <u>Advantage:</u> More competitive terms which can help secure larger orders.</li> <li> <u>Buyer&rsquo;s perspective:</u> May allow the buyer time to sell the goods prior to payment; does not tie up importer&rsquo;s cash.</li> <li> <u>Drawback:</u> The goods are gone and the buyer might not pay. This risk can be greatly reduced by obtaining credit insurance from the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. on the foreign accounts receivable. Cost can be minimal, viz. about 65 cents per $100 of the invoiced amount for a policy that provides 95% coverage. Visit <a href="" title="website" type="website"></a> for details.</li> </ul> Open For Business International SBA News and Views Wed, 27 Mar 2013 23:57:46 +0000 Dennis Chrisbaum 552401 at Buying a Small Business Overseas – 5 Tips for a Smooth Transaction <p>Interested in buying a business overseas? Whether you&rsquo;re looking to expand into new markets or are just planning on funding your retirement plans outside the U.S., there are a number of steps you should take to ensure your new venture goes smoothly. Everything from business practices; legal and regulatory requirements; navigating an international sale deal; and language and cultural differences will come into play. &nbsp;</p> <p>Here are some considerations and issues to bear in mind as you go about buying a business in a foreign country.</p> <p><strong>Language</strong></p> <p>If English isn&rsquo;t the first language in the country where you intend to buy a business, then learning the local language should be your first priority. If you can&rsquo;t do this, then you will need to think long and hard about your motivation and determination for going the distance in this new territory.</p> <p><strong>Measure the Risks to Your Capital Investment</strong></p> <p>No matter how much capital you have, to lessen the risk, be sure to factor in the many variables that come from buying and running a business. Factor in cost overruns, delays getting started and unforeseen expenses. For example, don&rsquo;t always assume that cheap labor is always going to be quality labor&mdash;you get what you pay for. You&rsquo;ll also incur many of the employment expenses you incur in the U.S. such as benefits, taxes, sick leave, and social security.</p> <p><strong>Work with an Expert</strong></p> <p>As with any overseas venture, one of the most important things you can do when buying a business abroad is to consult an expert. Accountants, lawyers, tax attorneys, and real estate brokers, can all help you succeed with your cross-border purchase. To ensure the best representation, work with experts who have experience in the location and industry in which you are buying a business. But you&rsquo;ll also need to find in-country experts who are familiar with business and regulatory matters in the country you intend to buy a business.</p> <p><strong>Do Your Research About Cross-Border Deals</strong></p> <p>It goes without saying that any business venture requires research, so here are some issues you should bear in mind:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Laws and Regulations </strong>&ndash; Legal and tax regulations overseas can be even more complicated than in the U.S. for business owners. Licenses and permits, for example, can take several months if not years to be granted. You&rsquo;ll also need to understand how the country handles expatriation of taxes on profits on foreign business owners. Much of this information can be found online, but for more information, reach out to local in-country small business organizations, business leaders and chambers of commerce.</li> <li> <strong>Understand the Buying Process </strong>&ndash; As you seek advice, be sure to ask about the negotiation and valuation process involved in buying a business. What&rsquo;s included in the sale? You don&rsquo;t want to be left with a hollow shell of a business when you thought you were getting furniture and fixtures too.</li> <li> <strong>Pay Heed to the Competition </strong>&ndash; As an outsider, it can take a tough skin to make a success of a small business in a foreign location. Be ready for that&mdash;look for ways to test the waters of the community before you take the plunge. Also look to the competition to understand your market potential&mdash;is there a gap or untapped need that you think your business can serve?</li> <li> <strong>Determine How You Intend to Manage Your Business </strong>&ndash; Will you re-locate yourself (that brings with it a raft of immigration factors), or will you manage it from the U.S. with on-site staff? Could you keep the current owner and hire him or her as an employee? Know your options before you hit the negotiation stage, and weigh the benefits of each.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Be Prepared to Connect and be Agile </strong></p> <p>Last but not least, buying and running a business&mdash;let alone an overseas business&mdash;requires tenacity, agility, and deep personal connections. So do your research, weigh the pros and cons, have a plan and heed laws and regulations. But above all, be true to your ambition and drive. Some of the best small business owners succeed not because they stick to the rulebook, but because they look for ways to take the initiative and forge a path for themselves.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Small Business Cents Business Laws Financing International Managing Mon, 04 Mar 2013 12:42:51 +0000 Caron_Beesley 511241 at Calling Small Business Exporters- Tell Us Your Story for a Chance to Win Cash Prizes <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>NOTE: The video submission deadline has been extended to <a href="">April 22</a>. Contest <a href="">rules</a> have also been updated.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Are you a small business exporter? Do you sell bowling balls to Bangladesh? Or dish towels to Delhi? Maybe you send laser technology to Lisbon? If you have a success story to tell about the goods or services you sell around the world and have used a federal government program or assistance to get there, the U.S. Small Business Administration and Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) are cosponsoring the &ldquo;2013 SBA-Visa Export Video Contest&rdquo; where your company will have the chance to win up to $10,000 just by sharing your story with other small business exporters on <a href="" title=""></a>.</p> <p>Participating in the contest is easy and free:&nbsp; Among other requirements, the company must be a small business as determined by SBA&rsquo;s size standards, have successfully completed at least one export transaction and used at least one federal program or service to support such transaction. In order to participate, contestants must register and create an account with <a href="" title="website" type="website"></a>, the contest portal that also will serve as repository for the video entries. For information on SBA size standards for small businesses, visit <a href=""></a>. &nbsp;</p> <p>The videos must meet several criteria that include duration no longer than three minutes and a high-resolution format. Content must be educational, not promotional. A panel of judges chosen by SBA will select five videos to be awarded cash prizes directly by Visa, Inc.</p> <p>The prizes are:</p> <ul> <li> First place - $10,000</li> <li> Second place - $8,000</li> <li> Third place - $6,000</li> <li> Fourth place - $4,000</li> <li> Fifth place - $2,000&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>The contest is open from Feb. 25 to April 22 to small businesses in the U.S. and its territories, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. Winners will be announced no later than May 31, 2013.</p> <p>For more information, submission procedures and requirements please visit <a href="" title=""></a>.</p> Open For Business International SBA News and Views Mon, 25 Feb 2013 16:51:19 +0000 Dario Gomez 501291 at Selling into the U.S. as a Foreign Business: Should You Incorporate Your Business Here? <p>Do you run an overseas business? Thinking of expanding and selling into the U.S. market?</p> <p>Because U.S. residency or citizenship is not required, non-U.S. citizens can readily sell into the U.S. However, many overseas business owners aren&rsquo;t clear on whether they are required to incorporate in the U.S. and the associated tax implications.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s what you need to know:</p> <p><strong>Should I Incorporate My Business in the U.S.?</strong></p> <p>This is a question that comes up frequently on the <a href="" title="SBA Community Discussion Boards">SBA Community Discussion Boards</a> and there&rsquo;s not a clear cut answer for all businesses.</p> <p>Essentially, if your intent is to sell goods into the U.S.&mdash;whether online or through U.S. partners such as a wholesaler&mdash;you may not have to file for incorporation in the U.S. However, if you plan to have a physical presence in the U.S. (such as an office or employees), then incorporation, whether as a <a href="" title="Information about setting up a corporation">corporation</a> or <a href="" title="Information about setting up a limited liability corporation">limited liability corporation</a> (LLC), is worth considering. Likewise, for online businesses in particular, remember that many U.S. consumers feel more confident buying from a registered U.S. business, so that&rsquo;s another important factor to weigh up.</p> <p>Each business is different and it&rsquo;s important to look at incorporation in the context of your overall business goals, state incorporation laws, taxation considerations, as well as your ability to scale and manage that legal entity from overseas.</p> <p>To understand the factors that might impact your decision, book some time with a good U.S. business attorney who understands both international and U.S. law.</p> <p><strong>How to Incorporate a Foreign Business in the U.S.</strong></p> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve made the decision to incorporate, you&rsquo;ll need to understand the process.</p> <p>In the U.S., business incorporation occurs at the state level for all business owners, regardless of whether you are a citizen or a foreign national.</p> <p>The process will vary from state-to-state, but generally involves two steps: applying to register in that particular state, and establishing a registered agent with a valid address in that state (no P.O. Box numbers). A registered agent can be either the business owner or another person who is authorized to receive legal papers on behalf of the business, such as an attorney or secretary.</p> <p><strong>What Business Structure Should I Choose?</strong></p> <p>The most popular choice of business structure for non-U.S. citizens is to form an <a href="" title="How to form an LLC">LLC</a>, although you can also legally form and own shares in a <a href="" title="How to form a C corporation">C corporation</a>. Non-U.S. citizens cannot retain shares in an <a href="" title="How to form an S corporation">S corporation</a> because business income is reported on personal U.S. income tax returns.</p> <p>To learn more about choosing the right business structure and how to file for incorporation, check out SBA&rsquo;s <a href="" title="Choose your business structure guide">Choose your Business Structure</a> guide. This blog offers more insight: <a href="" title="Top 10 questions about small business incorporation answered">Top 10 Questions About Small Business Incorporation Answered</a>.</p> <p><strong>Which State Should I Incorporate In?</strong></p> <p>If most of your clients are concentrated in a specific state or you have an office or physical presence in a state, it may make sense to incorporate there. If you don&rsquo;t plan on having a physical presence in the U.S., you can form a corporation or LLC in states such as Nevada and Delaware, both of which are considered friendly to foreign companies.</p> <p>If you operate in more than one state, you can elect to incorporate in any of these states. However, you are required to register your business in the other states in which you operate; this process is called foreign qualification and you can apply for it with the help of a lawyer or online incorporation service. Again, for the best advice, consult a U.S. business attorney who has expertise in both U.S. and international law.</p> <p><strong>Do I Need to Pay U.S. Taxes?</strong></p> <p>If you are a non-resident business owner, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will tax you on income that is sourced in the U.S. If your business is incorporated in the U.S., you may also be required to pay an annual fee to the state where your business is incorporated.</p> <p>The IRS offers a guide specifically on&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="IRS guide to international business">International Business,</a>&nbsp;but if you are still left with more questions, it is always good to check with a qualified attorney or accountant.</p> <p>U.S. citizens will likely need an Employment Identification Number to start up, a process that requires their social security number (SSN). In the case of foreign businesses, an&nbsp;<a href=",,id=96287,00.html#what" target="_blank" title="IRS information about Individual Tax Identification Numbers">Individual Taxpayer Identification Number&nbsp;</a>(ITIN) will suffice. The IRS issues these 9-digit tax processing numbers to individuals who are required to pay US taxes but who are ineligible for a SSN, including resident and non-resident aliens and foreign nationals.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Business Law Advisor Business Laws International Managing Starting Taxes Wed, 06 Feb 2013 11:36:53 +0000 Caron_Beesley 465931 at 6th Annual SBA Export Lenders’ Roundtable, April 3, 2013, Washington, D. C. <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Lenders:&nbsp; Help take your customers to the next level as they expand their sales overseas!</strong></p> <p>Today 96% of the world&rsquo;s population is outside the United States, 76% of global GDP is outside the United States and those markets continue growing at twice pace as our domestic market.&nbsp; Small businesses increasingly are discovering that the greatest opportunity for growth is selling into global markets. Already some 268,000 small businesses currently are exporting, helping to set record U.S. export volume last year at $2.2 trillion, with small businesses accounting for up to 24% of that total.&nbsp;</p> <p>So as a lender, now is a great time to offer SBA&rsquo;s export loan programs to your business community.&nbsp; By doing so, you can:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>help your current customers grow with their expansion into overseas markets;</strong></li> <li> <strong>expand your portfolio of high growth, competitive customers&mdash;ones that are finding compelling sales opportunities overseas;</strong></li> <li> <strong>attract new customers and expand your market share by becoming a full-service lender offering export financing products;</strong></li> <li> <strong>reduce your risk, and capital reserve requirements, with a 90% government guaranty on a suite of SBA export loan products up to $5 million;</strong></li> <li> <strong>meet CRA credit requirements.</strong></li> </ul> <p><strong>​</strong>Come and learn how easy it is to participate in <strong>SBA&rsquo;s Preferred Lender Program </strong>for<strong> Export Working Capital Loans up to $5 million </strong>with a full<strong> 90% guarantee.&nbsp; </strong>In addition, learn how:</p> <ul> <li> SBA 7(a) term loans up to 25 years can now obtain a 90% guaranty under the <strong>International Trade Loan</strong> program if the company is expanding because of exports;</li> <li> The <strong>Export Express</strong> programs offers a 90% guaranty to loans up to $350k and a 75% guaranty on loans up to $500k;</li> <li> The SBA <strong>CapLine</strong> program can be used to support a blend of domestic and international A/R.</li> </ul> <p>And<strong>, be among the first</strong> to hear about a<strong> new interagency initiative</strong> to bundle <strong>Global Business Solutions</strong> for lenders and exporters in a collaborative, customer-focused and cost-effective manner, combining SBA, Ex-Im Bank and Department of Commerce programs and services.&nbsp; This program is open to lenders only.&nbsp; Please send inquires and RSVPs to: <a href="" title="RSVP"></a>.</p> <p class="rteindent1"><strong>Date:</strong> Wednesday, April 3, 2013<br /> <strong>Time:</strong> 8:30-1:00 p.m.<br /> <strong>Location: </strong>Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center<br /> 13th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., NW<br /> Washington, D.C.<br /> (Federal Triangle Metro Station)</p> Open For Business International SBA News and Views Wed, 30 Jan 2013 22:17:36 +0000 Dario Gomez 454751 at Celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week by Encouraging Small Business Exporting <p>This week marks the 5<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;Annual Global Entrepreneurship&nbsp;Week. In our increasingly interconnected global economy, it&rsquo;s important for American small businesses to have the tools&nbsp;to&nbsp;compete on the world stage. Ninety&nbsp;six&nbsp;percent of the world&rsquo;s population lives outside of the United States, which represents a huge portion of the world&rsquo;s buying power. That&rsquo;s why President Obama set a goal to&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="">double exports by 2015</a>. Here at the SBA, and across the Administration, we&rsquo;ve made it a top priority to achieve this goal.</p> <p>With demand for high quality American-made products on the rise, we&rsquo;re focused on making sure small businesses have the tools they need to take advantage of growth opportunities in foreign markets. The SBA&rsquo;s Office of International Trade has taken a number of steps to ensure that our programs provide the right type of support for small businesses in a changing world market so they can meet that growing demand.</p> <p>Our&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">export loan programs</a>&nbsp;help small businesses&nbsp;and manufacturers&nbsp;export by funding their short-term export trade cycles; providing long-term financing for manufacturing expansion to meet export orders; and providing short-term financing to help companies connect with international buyers. Working together with the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Export-Import Bank, 19&nbsp;trade finance specialist in&nbsp;U.S.&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Export Assistance Centers</a>,&nbsp;and many additional private partners&nbsp;we are ready, willing and able to assist global entrepreneurs at every stage of growth.</p> <p>We know that some small business owners have an interest in exporting, but they don&rsquo;t know where to start. And that&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;ve made international counseling more accessible. We&rsquo;ve certified 130 counselors throughout the SBA bone structure- the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Small Business Development Center</a>&nbsp;network- with the Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) accreditation, considered the &ldquo;gold standard&rdquo; of training in international trade. Another 281 counselors have achieved mid-level certification in trade counseling. &nbsp;We encourage you to visit your local SBDC if you&rsquo;re ready to take your business global.</p> <p>Further, to increase access and opportunity for more small exporters, we hosted a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">matchmaking trade fair and conference</a>&nbsp;in St. Louis, MO in October. The event gave small business owners the chance to connect with Export Trading Companies and Export Management Companies to market their products internationally.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Obama Administration stands ready to support America&rsquo;s innovators and entrepreneurs so they can out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world and compete in a 21<sup>st</sup>&nbsp;century global economy. Here at the SBA, we&rsquo;re doing our part to help more Americans enter the middle class through entrepreneurship and foster an economy ripe with strong, growing small businesses meeting their potential to succeed.</p> Open For Business International SBA News and Views Fri, 16 Nov 2012 04:33:58 +0000 Dario Gomez 365821 at 6 Steps to Assess Your Small Business’ Readiness to Export <p><img alt="export planner" id="export planner" src="/sites/default/files/images/Export Guide.JPG.jpeg" style="width: 277px; height: 351px; float: right;" />Between 2009 and 2011, U.S. exports <a href="">grew by 40 percent</a> and the federal government is pressing to provide <a href="">programs and resources</a> that help U.S. companies succeed internationally.</p> <p>Making the decision to export, however, is significant. Is your product marketable overseas? Can your business tolerate the benefits versus the trade-offs of exporting?</p> <p>To help you assess your exporting readiness, take a look at SBA&rsquo;s <strong><a href="" title="SBA Export Business Planner">Export Business Planner</a>.</strong> This invaluable, hands-on exporting guide provides a roadmap for creating an export business plan, discovering foreign markets, developing a marketing plan, exploring financing, costing your product and more.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s what the Export Business Planner has to say about assessing your business&rsquo; readiness to export &ndash; backed by a series of useful worksheets to help you work through this important exercise.</p> <p><strong>1.&nbsp;</strong><strong>Determine the Benefits and Trade-Offs of International Market Expansion</strong></p> <p>Start by brainstorming a list of benefits and trade-offs for expanding your market internationally. For instance, one benefit might be a reduced dependence on domestic markets. Trade-offs? You may need additional financing, or be willing to use short-term profits to ensure long-term goals, or hire additional staff.</p> <p>Your list of benefits and trade-offs should be based on your current assumptions about 1) your company, 2) your company&rsquo;s products and 3) market knowledge. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>2.&nbsp;</strong><strong>Perform a Business/Company Analysis</strong></p> <p>Next, you&rsquo;ll need to perform an in-depth analysis of your existing business to determine the feasibility of growth. This entails evaluating your company and its attributes. Check out page 32 of the planner for a worksheet that can help you with this exercise.</p> <p><strong>3.&nbsp;</strong><strong>Conduct an Industry Analysis</strong></p> <p>Once you have examined the status of your own company, the next area for consideration is your overall industry. How is it currently involved in the global marketplace? This review will help you to capture key aspects of your industry that will affect your exporting decisions. Again, check out the worksheet for this exercise on page 34 of the planner.</p> <p><strong>4.&nbsp;</strong><strong>Identify Products With Export Potential</strong></p> <p>Part of the overall analysis of your current business involves identifying products that may have export potential. These have sold successfully domestically or maybe have had marginal success in the U.S. but potential for high demand overseas. Many small businesses make 100 percent of their sales in foreign markets.</p> <p>Start by listing the strengths and weaknesses of products/services you believe might have export potential. Then, select the most exportable products/services to be offered and evaluate them. The worksheet on page 36 can really help you narrow down your product focus.</p> <p><strong>5.&nbsp;</strong><strong>Marketability: Match Your Product/Service with a Global Trend or Need</strong></p> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve identified products/services with export potential, the next step is to identify the most profitable foreign markets for those products. This means gathering foreign market research. Work through the worksheet that starts on page 39 to narrow your choices to the three most-penetrable markets. Ask yourself:</p> <ul> <li> Which countries are best-suited for your product?</li> <li> Which foreign markets will be easiest to penetrate?</li> <li> How does the quality of your product compare with competing in-market goods?</li> <li> Is your price competitive?</li> <li> Who could your major customers be?</li> </ul> <p>To help you with this exercise and to continue to explore these top three markets in-depth, pages 25-27 of the planner provide links to essential resources that can help you determine your product&rsquo;s marketability overseas. There is also information about regulatory and political considerations that can affect your exporting decisions.</p> <p><strong>6.&nbsp;</strong><strong>Define Which Markets to Pursue</strong></p> <p>Once your research has revealed the largest, fastest-growing and simplest markets to penetrate for your product or service, the next step is to define which markets to pursue. Here are some tips to bear in mind (and refer to the worksheet on page 42 of the planner for guidance):</p> <ul> <li> It&rsquo;s best to test one market and then move on to secondary markets as your expertise develops. SBA data shows that new-to-export businesses often tend to choose too many markets at first. For most small businesses, choosing one to three foreign markets initially is recommended.</li> <li> Focusing on regional, geographic clusters of countries is more cost effective than choosing markets scattered around the globe, especially when you undertake trips or marketing events.</li> </ul> <p><strong>What&rsquo;s next?</strong> Once you&rsquo;ve determined your export readiness and investigated foreign market options, refer to the <strong><a href="" title="SBA Export Planning Guide">SBA&rsquo;s Export Planning Guide</a></strong> for more tips and worksheets to help you plan, finance and execute your small business exporting strategy.</p> <p><strong>Additional Resources</strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="" title="SBA Guide to Exporting and Importing">SBA Guide to Small Business Exporting and Importing</a></li> <li> <a href="" title=" Website"></a></li> <li> <a href="" title="8 Reasons your Business Should Get to Know">Selling Global? &ndash; 8 Reasons Why Your Small Business Should Get to Know</a></li> </ul> <p> &nbsp;</p> Small Business Matters International Managing Marketing Thu, 01 Nov 2012 11:31:36 +0000 Caron_Beesley 353901 at U.S. Small Manufacturers get SBA Help to Go Global <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Did you know 95 percent of the world&rsquo;s population lives outside the US? Are you a small business manufacturer? Have you considered exporting your goods?&nbsp; The &ldquo;Made in the USA&rdquo; brand is strong and there&rsquo;s a huge market out there for your products.</p> <p>All that is great, but how can you break into the global market, grow and be successful? The Small Business Administration can help you.</p> <p>SBA&rsquo;s mission is to help business start, grow and succeed &ndash; this includes helping small business exporters and companies that want to export.</p> <p><strong>Capital</strong></p> <p>SBA has several loan programs to finance exports and export-related business activities.</p> <p>This past year, SBA supported $923 million in loans to small business exporters, which supported $1.7 billion in export sales.</p> <p>A major factor in this strong loan performance was an increase in the use of the <a href="" title="ITL">International Trade Loan</a> (ITL), which allows small manufacturers and businesses to expand their facilities or purchase equipment to manufacture goods that will be sold in the international market.&nbsp; The ITL grew by 106 percent in number of loans and 207 percent in dollar value from FY2011 to FY 2012.</p> <p>SBA has <a href="" title="Export Loan Programs">several programs</a> to provide small business exporters with the capital they need.</p> <p><strong>Indirectly Exporting</strong></p> <p>In fact, you don&rsquo;t even have to be an exporter to benefit from the ITL.&nbsp; Are you a small business that&rsquo;s part of a larger supply chain?&nbsp;&nbsp; If you sell to an Export Trading Company or an Export Management Company &ndash; and they do export &ndash; then you may qualify.&nbsp;</p> <p>Indirect exporting is a great way for small businesses to get their foot in the exporting door.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Foot in the Door</strong></p> <p>SBA regularly hosts trade seminars and export matchmaking events to help small business exporters, and those interested in exporting, get acquainted with everything SBA has to offer in terms of export assistance. &nbsp;The most recent export matchmaking event was held in St. Louis.&nbsp; More than 150 people from 16 states and four countries registered to participate.&nbsp; Similar events have been held in Jersey City, N.J., and Tampa., Fla.</p> <p>These seminars, as well as other training and counseling resources, are some of the ways SBA is actively helping small business exporters &ndash;or business that want to export- break into the global market and be successful. <a href="" title="OIT">SBA&rsquo;s Office of International Trade&nbsp;</a><a href="">website</a> offers a great deal of information online on how to begin exporting, how to finance your exports and foreign investment projects and much more. One of the best resources for export training and guidance are the <a href="" title="USEAC">US Export Assistance Centers</a>. USEACs are located in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States and are staffed by professionals from the SBA, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and other public and private organizations. Together, their mission is to provide the help you need to compete in today&#39;s global marketplace.</p> <p>For more information about SBA export loans and services as well as on future Export Trade Matchmaking events, visit the <a href="" title="OIT">Office of International Trade</a> site.</p> Open For Business Financing International SBA News and Views Mon, 22 Oct 2012 16:55:39 +0000 Dario Gomez 340741 at Un país forjado sobre la diversidad brinda una economía perdurable <div lang="es"> <p>Desde su fundaci&oacute;n, millones de personas han arribado a los Estados Unidos con la visi&oacute;n de alcanzar un futuro mejor para ellas y sus familias. La historia de los Estados Unidos tiene sus ra&iacute;ces en la traves&iacute;a de todas esas personas. El Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana nos brinda la oportunidad de no s&oacute;lo reconocer las enormes aportaciones que los hispanoamericanos han hecho a este pa&iacute;s, sino tambi&eacute;n de cerciorarnos de que existan pol&iacute;ticas y programas adecuados que aseguren que dichas aportaciones contin&uacute;en.</p> <p>Los negocios propiedad de minor&iacute;as constituyen uno de los segmentos de la econom&iacute;a de mayor crecimiento en el pa&iacute;s, y las empresas peque&ntilde;as propiedad de hispanos encabezan a las de todos los dem&aacute;s grupos demogr&aacute;ficos.&nbsp; De hecho, seg&uacute;n la Fundaci&oacute;n Kaufmann, en el 2010, los hispanos crearon casi el doble de negocios mensualmente que el promedio nacional. A medida que continuamos forjando los cimientos de una econom&iacute;a perdurable, la SBA y la administraci&oacute;n del Presidente Obama han establecido como prioridad el apoyo a los negocios peque&ntilde;os en comunidades econ&oacute;micamente desfavorecidas, brind&aacute;ndoles las herramientas necesarias para facilitar su crecimiento y &eacute;xito.</p> <p>Por ejemplo, en los &uacute;ltimos tres a&ntilde;os, la SBA ha apoyado pr&eacute;stamos de m&aacute;s de $4,400 millones de d&oacute;lares a negocios peque&ntilde;os propiedad de hispanos y tan s&oacute;lo en el 2012 el monto de los pr&eacute;stamos ascendi&oacute; a casi mil millones de d&oacute;lares. Desde que comenz&oacute; el mandato del Presidente Obama, la SBA ha apoyado m&aacute;s de $100,200 millones de d&oacute;lares en contratos federales a peque&ntilde;os negocios con desventaja econ&oacute;mica, muchos de los cuales son propiedad de hispanos. Esto ha permitido que los propietarios de peque&ntilde;as empresas cuenten con la liquidez necesaria para cubrir sus obligaciones y obtener m&aacute;s contratos.</p> <p>Aunque hemos mejorado la situaci&oacute;n a pasos agigantados, sabemos que todav&iacute;a hay mucho m&aacute;s por hacer. Por esto hemos buscado formas de aumentar nuestra presencia en comunidades econ&oacute;micamente desfavorecidas. Hemos establecido una colaboraci&oacute;n con la C&aacute;mara de Comercio Hispana de Estados Unidos (USHCC) para ayudar a apoyar a emprendedores y peque&ntilde;os negocios propiedad de hispanos. Pondremos en marcha un programa piloto de esta colaboraci&oacute;n con ocho c&aacute;maras de comercio hispanas en las siguientes ciudades y estados del pa&iacute;s: Austin, TX; El Paso, TX; Nashville, TN; Filadelfia, PA; California, Florida, Ohio y Utah.&nbsp; Mediante esta colaboraci&oacute;n, la SBA y USHCC trabajar&aacute;n juntas para aumentar la participaci&oacute;n de la peque&ntilde;a empresa hispana en los programas de la SBA, entre los que se incluyen:</p> <ul> <li> Programas de pr&eacute;stamos e&nbsp;<u><a href="" title="capital">iniciativas de acceso a capital</a>;</u></li> <li> Programas de contrataci&oacute;n con el gobierno federal como el llamado 8(a) y el&nbsp;<u><a href="" title="wosbp">programa de peque&ntilde;os negocios propiedad de mujeres</a>;</u></li> <li> Informaci&oacute;n actualizada y acceso a la extensa&nbsp;<u><a href="" title="counseling">red de organizaciones asociadas que ofrecen asistencia t&eacute;cnica</a></u>; y</li> <li> Oportunidades para brindar acceso al&nbsp;<u><a href="" title="international trade">comercio internacional</a></u>&nbsp;a fin de alcanzar las metas establecidas por la&nbsp;<u><a href="" title="nei">Iniciativa Nacional de Exportaci&oacute;n del Presidente</a></u>.</li> </ul> <p>Todos en la SBA trabajamos arduamente para facilitar el acceso de peque&ntilde;os empresarios como John Fern&aacute;ndez a todos nuestros programas. En 2009, John recibi&oacute; un&nbsp;<u><a href="" title="504">pr&eacute;stamo 504 garantizado por la SBA para expandir su empresa</a></u>; desde entonces, su compa&ntilde;&iacute;a Dystar Desserts ha crecido enormemente y pas&oacute; de atender a clientes en 6 estados, a atender a clientes en 38 estados actualmente. Asimismo, sus ventas aumentaron 62% y a&ntilde;adi&oacute; 42 empleos. Otro ejemplo es Zeferino Banda, quien utiliz&oacute; su&nbsp;<a href="" title="8a">certificaci&oacute;n 8(a)</a>&nbsp;para obtener un contrato de cinco a&ntilde;os con la NASA para su empresa Banda Group International, LLC. Su negocio ha gozado de un &eacute;xito formidable que lo ha llevado a que se le incluya en la lista de las 500 compa&ntilde;&iacute;as hispanas m&aacute;s grandes de Estados Unidos seg&uacute;n ingresos, de acuerdo con la revista Hispanic Business.</p> <p>Nuestra colaboraci&oacute;n con la USHCC nos permitir&aacute; generar m&aacute;s &eacute;xitos como los de John Fern&aacute;ndez y Zeferino Banda y asegurar que nuestra econom&iacute;a emerja como el l&iacute;der econ&oacute;mico mundial en el siglo XXI. Este mes celebramos las aportaciones de los hispanos en nuestro pa&iacute;s &nbsp;y continuaremos asegurando que m&aacute;s hispanos propietarios de empresas peque&ntilde;as obtengan las oportunidades y el acceso que necesitan para crear negocios exitosos y generar buenos empleos en nuestras comunidades.&nbsp;</p> </div> Open For Business Financing Government Contracting International Mentoring and Training SBA News and Views Tue, 18 Sep 2012 16:15:10 +0000 ana.harvey 306131 at A Country Built On Diversity Leads To An Economy Built To Last <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>From our founding, people have come to America&rsquo;s shores with a vision for a better future for themselves and their families. America&rsquo;s story is rooted in the journey of these individuals. And National Hispanic Heritage month is an opportunity to not only recognize the enormous contributions of Hispanic Americans but to ensure that programs and policies are in place to ensure those contributions continue.</p> <p>Minority-owned businesses are some of the fastest growing segments of the economy, with Hispanic-owned small businesses leading all other demographics.&nbsp; In fact, according to the Kaufmann Foundation, monthly Hispanic business creation in 2010 was almost twice the national average. As we continue lay to the foundation for an economy built to last, the SBA and the Obama Administration have made supporting small businesses in underserved communities a priority, giving them the tools they need to thrive and be successful.</p> <p>For example, SBA has supported more than $4.4 billion in SBA loans to Hispanic-owned small businesses over the last three years with almost a billion dollars in lending in 2012 alone. Since President Obama took office, the SBA has supported over $100.2 billion in Federal government contracting dollars to small disadvantaged businesses, many of which are Hispanic-owned, giving small business owners the cash flow they to meet their bottom lines and secure more contracts.</p> <p>Although we have made significant progress, we know there is more work to do. That&rsquo;s why we&rsquo;ve looked for ways to increase our footprint in underserved communities. We&rsquo;ve joined forces with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) to help support thousands of Hispanic small businesses and entrepreneurs.&nbsp; We will pilot the partnership with eight city and state Hispanic Chambers in the following areas: Austin, Texas; California; El Paso, Texas; Florida; Nashville, Tenn.; Ohio; Philadelphia, Pa.; and Utah.&nbsp; Through this collaboration, the SBA and USHCC will work to increase Hispanic-owned small business participation in SBA programs, including:</p> <ul> <li> Loan programs and <a href="" target="_blank" title="Cap Access">access to capital initiatives</a>;</li> <li> Government contracting programs like the 8(a) program and the <a href="" target="_blank" title="WOSBP">Women-Owned Small Business Program</a>;</li> <li> Up-to-date information and access to SBA&rsquo;s extensive <a href="" target="_blank">resource partner</a> network; and</li> <li> <a href="" target="_blank" title="OIT">International trade</a> opportunities to achieve the goals of the <a href="" target="_blank" title="Exports ">President&rsquo;s National Export Initiative</a>.</li> </ul> <p>At the SBA, we&rsquo;re working hard to help small business owners like John Fernandez gain access to our programs. He received a <a href="" target="_blank" title="504">SBA-backed 504 loan</a> to expand his business in 2009. Since receiving the loan his company Dystar Desserts now serves customers in 38 states- up from six. He has also&nbsp;increased sales by 62% and added 42 jobs. Another example is Zeferino Banda. He used his <a href="" target="_blank" title="8A">8(a) certification</a> to get a five year contract with NASA for his company, Banda Group International, LLC. His business has experienced tremendous success, ranking among the top 500 largest Hispanic-owned firms by revenue, according to Hispanic Business Magazine.</p> <p>Working with USHCC, we&rsquo;ll create more success stories like John Fernandez and Zeferino Banda and ensure our economy emerges as a global economic leader in the 21<sup>st</sup> century. This month, we celebrate the contributions of Hispanic Americans and we will continue to ensure that more Hispanic small business owners get the access and opportunity they need to build successful businesses and create good jobs in our communities.&nbsp;</p> Open For Business Financing Government Contracting International Mentoring and Training SBA News and Views Tue, 18 Sep 2012 15:09:35 +0000 ana.harvey 305011 at Selling Global? – 8 Reasons Why Your Small Business Should Get to Know <p>Thinking of exporting your products or services? Want to expand your existing exporting business? The U.S. government can help.</p> <p>The SBA, for example, is making it a priority to help small business owners develop or expand their exporting activities through initiatives such as its&nbsp;<a href=" Express Program" title="SBA Export Loan Programs">Export Loan Programs</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="" title="Informational videos about exporting for small businesses">free online informational videos</a>.</p> <p>What else does Uncle Sam offer? Well, did you know the U.S. government can help target and facilitate meetings with potential international partners and buyers? Or that it provides U.S. exporters with international marketing and promotion opportunities?</p> <p><strong>Let me introduce you to&nbsp;</strong><a href="" target="_blank" title=" website"><strong></strong></a><strong>.</strong></p> <p>Operated by the U.S. Department of Commerce as a collaborative effort with 19 other agencies, is a goldmine of information, tools and programs for anyone looking to succeed in the global marketplace.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a quick summary of what aspiring and expanding exporters can learn and leverage:</p> <p><strong>1. Are you export ready?</strong></p> <p>If you think you&rsquo;re ready to start exporting, take a look at this&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="Guide to exporting basics">Export Basics</a>&nbsp;guide. Assess your exporting readiness with this&nbsp;<a href="" title="Exporting questionnaire">quick questionnaire</a>&nbsp;and learn about the fundamentals of exporting through a variety of resources (including this&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="Exporting 101 webinar">Export University 101</a>&nbsp;webinar).</p> <p><strong>2. Find your export market with free research tools</strong></p> <p>Get free trade statistics and market research reports, plus a step-by-step guide for doing your research, in;s&nbsp;<a href="" title="Exporting market research guide">Market Research</a>&nbsp;guide.</p> <p><strong>3. Get appointments with pre-screened in-market contacts</strong></p> <p>The government has&nbsp;<a href="" title="U.S. Commercial Service">U.S. Commercial Service</a>&nbsp;staff in&nbsp;<a href=";subcat=information" title="U.S. Commercial Service locations">over 80 countries</a>&nbsp;to help you find international partners and distributors. How? Specialists will contact a large group of pre-screened potential overseas business partners on your behalf, and then identify the companies that are interested and capable of becoming a viable representative for you in that market. They will also screen them and arrange meetings. Learn more about this service&nbsp;<a href="">here</a>.</p> <p><strong>4. Trade Events &ndash; get advice and meet foreign buyers</strong></p> <p>The government organizes a variety of trade events to help U.S. exporters. These include everything from webinars and seminars on exporting basics such as financing and licensing, counseling and support at international trade shows, and recruitment for meetings with you of foreign buyer delegations to U.S. trade shows. Learn more and search for events&nbsp;<a href="">here</a>.</p> <p><strong>5. The government can support your international sales and marketing</strong></p> <p>In addition to trade fairs, the government offers several ways for exporters to market and sell their products overseas, including:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Market Planning</strong>&nbsp;&ndash; Get help&nbsp;<a href="" title="How to create an international business plan">creating an international business plan</a>&nbsp;and conducting&nbsp;<a href="">market research and due diligence</a>.</li> <li> <strong>International Promotion&nbsp;</strong>&ndash; Place an ad in the U.S. Commerce Department&#39;s official export promotion magazine&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="Commercial News USA magazine">Commercial News USA</a>. Get listed on&nbsp;<a href="" title="FUSE">FUSE</a>, an online directory of U.S. products on government websites around the world, as well as the Export Yellow Pages.</li> <li> <strong>Organize a Promotional Event With the Support of Uncle Sam&nbsp;</strong>&ndash; If you want to host your own export trade event, your local Export Assistance Center can help you get organized.</li> <li> <strong>Overcome Trade Barriers and Resolve Disputes&nbsp;</strong>&ndash;&nbsp;<a href="" title="Get help overcoming trade barriers">Learn more</a>&nbsp;about how the government can help.</li> </ul> <p>Read more about how the government can be &ldquo;<em>your international business partner</em>&rdquo; in;s&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Marketing Guide</a>.</p> <p><strong>6. Get logistical support</strong></p> <p>Find out how to get your products from point A to point B, including how to gather the right documentation, prepare products for shipment, and speak to a specialist&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p> <p><strong>7. Learn how to conduct international e-commerce</strong></p> <p>To help you &ldquo;internationalize&rdquo; your e-commerce site as well as navigate the complexities of payment options, custom duties, etc., visit;s guide to&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="Guide to conducting international business online">Conducting International Business Online</a>.</p> <p><strong>8. Get exporting help in your town</strong></p> <p>Many of the services offered by are backed by&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" title="Export assistance centers">local export assistance centers</a>&nbsp;in more than 100 cities nationwide. Each center is staffed by trade professionals who can provide local businesses with exporting support, including trade counseling and more information on many of the tools and services mentioned in this article.</p> <p><strong>Related Resources</strong></p> <ul> <li> and its partners also have a significant&nbsp;<a href="">blogging</a>&nbsp;and social media presence. Get the links&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</li> <li> <a href="" title="SBA Import - Export Guide">SBA Export - Import Guide</a></li> <li> <a href="" title="Small business owner's exporting experiences">Idea Exchange: Small Business Owner&#39;s Exporting Experiences</a></li> <li> <a href="" title="US-Korea trade agreement opens big market for small businesses">US-Korea Trade Agreement Opens Big Market for Small Businesses</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> Small Business Matters International Thu, 23 Aug 2012 11:43:21 +0000 Caron_Beesley 267771 at Importing Goods into the U.S. – An Introductory Guide for Small Business Owners <p>Whether you&rsquo;re looking to diversify your product line or leverage cheaper-made merchandise, selling imported goods in the U.S. can be an important ingredient in small business success.</p> <p>Interestingly enough, importing doesn&rsquo;t always necessarily cannibalize the economy here at home. Research from the&nbsp;<a href="" title="Link to Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco research report">Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco</a>&nbsp;(cited in this <a href="" title="Link to USA Today article">USA Today article</a>) suggests that for every dollar spent on a Chinese-made item, 55 cents goes to U.S. businesses for services such as marketing and sales. So Americans are getting more than just cheap prices and unique products from overseas markets.</p> <p>Many small businesses also support high-demand imported products that can&rsquo;t be found or manufactured here: artisan crafts, furniture, shoes and clothing, and food and beverage products. These represent a lucrative market with margins that can reach up to 700 percent.</p> <p>If you are interested in importing and selling overseas goods to the U.S. market &ndash; whether or not you&rsquo;re actually based in the U.S. &ndash; you&rsquo;ll need to do your research regarding both the country of export and the country of import (the United States).</p> <p>Here are some business and regulatory tips to guide you through the process of selling imported goods in the U.S.</p> <p><strong>Review Import Rejection Laws and Trade Barriers </strong></p> <p>First, be sure to check U.S. trade barriers and local in-country laws to be certain you can actually export your chosen goods out of the country of origin into the U.S.</p> <p>While the U.S. is very import-friendly, it does have safety and quality controls that are more stringent than other countries. Likewise, foreign nations sometimes restrict or ban the export of religious ornaments, rare or protected goods, animal by-products (such as furs and ivory), as well as pirated designer goods. There are several guides and links to information about import trade on;s <a href="" title=" Importing Goods guide">Importing Goods</a> page.</p> <p>If you want to import or sell agricultural products into the U.S., the <a href=";_policies/Import_Information/index.asp" title="Link to Food Safety and Inspection Service">Food Safety and Inspection Service</a> provides a checklist and other information to help you comply with laws that govern import of meat, poultry and egg products.</p> <p><strong>Build Relationships and Network on the Ground in the Export Country</strong></p> <p>As with all wholesale procurement, you will want to meet and greet the producer or distributor of the product(s) you will be selling. Try to establish whether the company you&rsquo;re dealing with has export experience. Ask for references. SBA&rsquo;s <a href="" title="SBA Doing Business Abroad Guide">Doing Business Abroad</a> guide can help you plan your trip.</p> <p><strong>Hire a Customs Broker</strong></p> <p>A licensed customs broker can help you navigate laws and regulations that apply to the transactions your planning, including licenses, calculation of taxes, duty fees, etc. A customs broker prepares all the documentation needed to import goods, just as a freight forwarder does for exporters. Customs brokers also facilitate communication between the importer and the government. Licensed brokers must have expertise in the entry procedures, admissibility requirements, classification, valuation, and the rates of duty, applicable taxes and fees for imported merchandise. The customs broker charges the importer a fee for this advice.</p> <p>You can search for certified customs brokers at the <a href=";DocID=8579&amp;MenuKey=members" title="Link to National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association">National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America</a>. For international brokers visit the <a href="" title="International Federation of Customs Brokers Associations">International Federation of Customs Brokers Associations</a>.</p> <p><strong>Check License or Permit Requirements for Importing Certain Goods </strong></p> <p>Many imported and exported products are regulated by federal agencies and are listed in SBA&rsquo;s <a href="" title="Link to SBA Exporting/Importing Specific Goods guide">Exporting/Importing Specific Goods</a> page. If you import or export any of the products listed, you may need to obtain specific licenses and permits or complete additional paperwork. The page also provides information on how to get the appropriate licenses and permits. A customs broker can also help with this aspect of importing goods.</p> <p><strong>Get Assistance and Training</strong></p> <p>The federal government provides advice and seminars to small businesses interested in importing.</p> <ul> <li> <a href="" title="Small Business Development Center (SBDC)">Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)</a> &ndash; Provide assistance for import businesses and fee-based seminars. Use the map to find a branch near you.</li> <li> <a href="" title="SCORE">SCORE</a> &ndash; Provides online workshops and in-person advice from over 12,400 volunteer counselors across the nation. Use the search tool to find help near you.</li> <li> <a href="" title="U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Contacts">U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Contacts</a> &ndash; Contact information to find assistance from any of CBP&#39;s offices in international trade, trade relations, and brokers.</li> <li> <a href="" title="International Trade Administration (ITA) Services">International Trade Administration (ITA) Services</a> &ndash; ITA&#39;s import services, including counseling and a program/partner search.</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> Business Law Advisor International Tue, 03 Jul 2012 11:48:44 +0000 Caron_Beesley 158941 at Social Media, Exporting and Other Free Educational Sessions – Streamed Live from National Small Business Week <p>Next week is National Small Business Week and for the 49<sup>th</sup> year, entrepreneurs, SBA and other members of the small business community will gather in Washington, D.C., for the highlight of the week &ndash; the <a href="" title="link to NSBW page">National Small Business Week Conference</a>.</p> <p>Aside from the awards and numerous networking opportunities presented by the event (running from May 20-22 at the <a href="" title="link to Mandarin Oriental Hotel page">Mandarin Oriental Hotel</a>), the conference also includes a&nbsp;schedule&nbsp;of educational seminars and forums offering a variety of learning opportunities across many topics for business owners. If you are in the Metro D.C. area, there&rsquo;s still time to sign up. Many sessions are free. Check out the <a href="" title="link to registration page">registration page</a> and look for sessions marked $0.</p> <p><strong>Can&rsquo;t make it to D.C.? Educational sessions will be streamed live.</strong></p> <p>Many of the sessions from the event will be streamed live. Here are a few you don&rsquo;t want to miss:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>How Small Businesses Can Win Big With Large Companies </strong>(Sun, May 20, 3-5 PM) &ndash; Got a great product, but no idea how to get it noticed by a large company? Ever wondered how to get your merchandise on the shelves of a major retailer? This panel offers solutions from all sides of the equation that add up to achievement.</li> <li> <strong>Small Businesses Creating an Economy Built to Last</strong> (Mon, May 21, 10-11.15 AM) &ndash; SBA Administrator Karen Mills will host this town hall that features last year&#39;s National Small Business of the Year winner along with other panelists to discuss how small businesses are good for the long-term health of any economy.</li> <li> <strong>Export Forum: Take Your Business Global </strong>(Mon, May 21, 11.30 AM-12.45 PM) &ndash; Includes strategies and resources for taking your small business global (a growing market, U.S. exports grew 15 percent in 2011). This forum&#39;s special guest is Nihat Ergun, Turkish Minister of Science, Industry and Technology.</li> <li> <strong>Federal Contracting Educational Sessions </strong>(Tues, May 22, 10 AM-12.45 PM) &ndash; Three free sessions offering insights into how small business can better position themselves to win federal government business (over $100 billion of which goes to small business each year!).</li> <li> <strong>Improving Your Business Through Sub-Contracting Opportunities</strong> (Tues, May 22, 11.30 AM-12:45 PM) &ndash; Learn how to take advantage of prime and sub-contracting opportunities with insights from panelists who will share their insights on mastering the challenges of getting into the supply chains of large primes.</li> <li> <strong>Social Media </strong>(Tues, May 22, 3-4.30 PM) &ndash; This panel includes insights on ever-changing advancements in social media and how small business can take advantage of them. Speakers include experts: SBA guest blogger and GrowBiz Media CEO Rieva Lesonsky, Wall Street Journal&rsquo;s Brian Moran, and business leaders from, Constant Contact, Twitter and Google. Special guest Sarah Bernard, Deptuy Director for the White House Office of Digital Strategy, will also join the forum.</li> </ul> <p>For more information on how to watch these live webcasts, visit the <a href="" title="link to NSBW site">National Small Business Week website</a>. You can also follow SBA on <a href="" title="link to sba twitter page">Twitter</a> and <a href="" title="link to sba facebook page">Facebook</a> for more details nearer the time.</p> <form action=""> <input id="topic_id" name="topic_id" type="hidden" value="USSBA_186" /><br /> <fieldset><br /> <legend> National Small Business Week Webcast</legend> <div> Sign up to receive a reminder about the National Small Business Week webcast. The event is May 20-26, 2012.</div> <ol class="form"> <li class="email_fields" style="display: block"> <label for="email">Email Address</label> <input class="long" id="email" name="email" type="text" /></li> </ol> <div class="button_panel"> <input class="form_button" name="commit" type="submit" value="Submit" /></div> <p> </p></fieldset><br /> </form> <p>&nbsp;</p> Small Business Matters Government Contracting International Managing Mentoring and Training SBA News and Views Thu, 17 May 2012 12:43:54 +0000 Caron_Beesley 146441 at