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Thursday, September 30, 2004
Small Businesses Are Going Global
GlobeTrade.com is an organization dedicated to helping small businesses go global in their search for markets.

We recently asked Laurel Delaney, GlobeTrade.com's Founder and CEO, to share her thoughts about key trends in small business globalization. Here is what Laurel had to say:

    The World is Your Oyster - Never before in history have conditions been more favorable for small businesses to go global in the search for markets. In the United States alone there are 230,000 small businesses exporting. These small businesses export nearly US$182 Billion annually. This means that in the 21st century, nearly one-third of all U.S. exports come from small businesses with under 500 employees.

    Even more interesting is the fact that a mere 10% of small businesses are exporting. Obviously, there is plenty of room for more small businesses to get their share of global markets.

    Which small businesses are doing the most exporting today? They fall into three categories:
  • Companies which manufacture or distribute niche products. Finding markets for export products depends not so much on price as on uniqueness and expertise. Trying to compete with very low-cost providers in places such as China on basic, undifferentiated goods is not what we are talking about. But we are talking about changing the paradigm, and exporting goods which are the best in the world at their intended purpose. Niche products which require special expertise to manufacture or create, or which fill specific market needs are hot exports today. Examples include home furnishings, sporting goods and recreational equipment, and software applications.

  • Internet-based businesses or online services that can be delivered across borders. The Internet is a crucial tool for exporters. Businesses which have an online presence are far more likely to find markets for export -- by a ratio of 20-to-1. Even service businesses are more likely to be able to find export markets, if they have an online presence. Examples include eBay sellers, site translation services, search engine optimization services, eLearning businesses, logistics coordinators, and border compliance providers.

  • Construction materials and energy sources. China has a red-hot economy right now. It is consuming huge amounts of construction and building materials and related services. Supplying China with the basic materials it needs to manufacture end goods is a key area of exports from the U.S. and other Western countries today, including: steel, scrap metal, engineering services, architectural services, environmental consulting, and of course building products.
    The world can indeed be your oyster if you keep up to date on what is happening across the globe, and get the right help to get into exporting.
Laurel Delaney has more than 20 years' experience in global trade. She is CEO of Global Trade.com and the author of "Start and Run a Profitable Exporting Business." Download a copy of GlobeTrade.com's free whitepaper "The World is Your Market: Small Businesses Gear up for Globalization."
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