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PSSSST! Sell your Products Overseas, Make Money, and Build Up the U.S. Economy

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PSSSST! Sell your Products Overseas, Make Money, and Build Up the U.S. Economy

By Davidh, SBA Official
Published: November 3, 2011 Updated: March 2, 2014

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.

Additional Resources:


-SBA Guide to Exporting

-SBA’s Export Business Planner Tool

-Video: Where Will Your Next Customer Come From?

-Videos: Strategies for Growth

-Talk to someone NOW about exporting opportunities: Call 1-800-USA-TRADE (1-800-872-8723):

We hope to hear from you soon!

About the Author:

David J. Hall

SBA Official

Hi, my name is David and I'm serving as a Moderator for the SBA Community. Our goal is to continually improve this site to meet your needs, so we appreciate your feedback and participation.


I think that these are all very interesting ideas and guidelines to follow when moving some business oversees. My only issue is how a company would look from a domestic perspective. How does one exude the image of helping the american economy and helping create jobs when conducting business oversees. I understand those statements are fundamentally flawed, but I'm not quite sure that a majority of America does. It's quite simple to say my competitor's business is operating in another country, therefore their taking away jobs and hurting the overall US economy. A lot of business is being able to properly communicate with your customers. Often times, the simplest message is the most effective. I think that all of these suggestions could help any business succeed. However I understand the reservations that companies may have. Overall, in this state I feel that a may be risky to venture oversees. On the flip side, it may be worth the risk. Thanks for the great post and I look forward to hearing everyones thoughs!
I too am interested in if there are any gov't regs to consider. This post was edited to remove a link. Please review our Community Best Practices for more information about how best to participate in our online discussions. Thank you.
What is the ratio of those who pursue financing but fail to get it? This post was edited to remove a link. Please review our Community Best Practices for more information about how best to participate in our online discussions. Thank you.
Good advice.In addition to loan information, are there web site where we can obtain information relative to any government regulations or import duties we might face from other countries we export to?

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