Has the state of the economy affected your company’s bottom line? Sales down? Looking for new customers? Consider breaking into a huge new market by going global. After all, 95 percent of the world’s customers live outside the U.S.
You might be thinking: “Export? Me? I don’t think so.” Worried about regulations, currency exchanges, customs and international law? SBA is here to help.
No matter how you choose to pursue exporting, the SBA and its team members from 20 different federal agencies are available to help you every step of the way – from basic education to financing to finding new customer prospects, to closing the deal!
The first step to exporting is understanding how it works and where to turn for assistance. There’s helpful and free support and information available through the SBA’s nationwide network of resource partners – U .S. Export Assistance Centers, Small Business Development Centers, and SCORE. These groups offer trainings and one-on-one counseling to get you up to speed on the basics of exporting. From assessing whether you are export-ready to learning the basic exporting terms and developing an export business plan, you can get the help you need to find new markets and sell to buyers overseas.
One of your primary concerns may be securing financing, especially in the present lending environment. SBA has several loan programs designed to meet the specific needs of exporters:
1) The Export Working Capital Program, which provides banks with the “insurance” of a 90 percent guaranty on export loans up to $5 million, makes it easier for lenders to take on the risk of making a loan to your company. Among other benefits, the EWCP offers financing for inventory or production of export goods and financing for stand-by letters of credit used as bid or performance bonds or down payment guarantees, plus low fees and quick processing.
2) SBA’s International Trade Loan is designed to help small businesses enter and expand into international markets. The loan can be used to make the investments necessary to help your company compete. The ITL offers a combination of fixed asset, working capital financing and debt refinancing with the SBA’s maximum guaranty – 90 percent – on the total loan amount up to $5 million.
3) Export Express is a streamlined loan program that offers flexibility and ease of use to both borrowers and lenders for loans up to $500,000. It is the simplest export loan product offered by the SBA and allows participating lenders to use their own forms, procedures and analyses. The SBA provides a response in 36 hours or less.
For a more complete list of options, check out SBA’s export loan page.
And remember -- SBA financing programs are only one option in addition to other exporting assistance provided by the federal government. You can find information about other federal programs -- from training, financing and locating foreign buyers -- at http://business.usa.gov/export.
Your state may also be able to help. SBA has provided grants under the State Trade and Export Promotion Grant (STEP) Pilot Grant Initiative for states to use to pay for small business exporting assistance. You can find out who to contact in your state on our STEP page.
Another option that can greatly simplify exporting is working with an export management company. These companies can represent your product abroad or buy it outright and sell it overseas, making exporting almost as easy as a domestic sale.
-Talk to someone NOW about exporting opportunities: Call 1-800-USA-TRADE (1-800-872-8723):
We hope to hear from you soon!