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Finding International Buyers: Sometimes You Gotta Go
June 16, 2016 Elizabeth Thomas, Business Development Specialist, Office of Small Business
Tagged: Exporting Tips

The 11th edition of A Basic Guide to Exporting  contains success stories from small businesses that invested in exporting their products overseas. While each company and situation is unique in its own way, there are a few common themes:

  • Exporting may be challenging, but it’s worth it;
  • U.S.-made products have a powerful brand known for quality; and
  • There’s nothing like experiencing an overseas market first-hand to understand how to sell there.

Fortunately, there are many resources that will introduce you to new markets and foreign buyers.  You do not have to go it alone!

Some of the companies highlighted in A Basic Guide to Exporting participated in Trade Missions, a one-week trip to foreign countries hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce.  During a trade mission, U.S. small business executives meet face-to-face with prescreened international business people, including qualified distributors, sales representatives and business owners.  The missions are industry specific and target two to four countries per trip.  Trade Missions are a cost-effective way to jump start your relationship with foreign buyers and begin to build your brand in overseas markets. 

International Trade Shows worked for a North Carolina-based small business.  In fact, the experience of meeting overseas buyers in their own countries was so successful that the company invited eight of its suppliers to a construction trade conference in the Middle East, resulting in new markets for all of them.  If you are exporting food, the Foreign Agricultural Service has employees located overseas and is ready to provide you commercial briefings, local contacts and advice for establishing a business presence in local markets.  They will also facilitate your meetings

Want to get started but just can’t book that ticket right now?  Another company found success at a U.S. Department of Commerce International Buyer Program (IBP) Trade Show.  Every year these industry specific events bring thousands of international buyers to the U.S. for business-to-business matchmaking with U.S. firms, resulting in an estimated $1 billion in new business for U.S. companies. Check out the 2016 calendar for the remaining shows this year IBP Trade Show Calendar. Or consider the Department of Commerce “Gold Key Matching Video Service”, which uses teleconferencing to bring you face-to-face with foreign buyers in real-time.

Whether you’re itching to whip out your passport or would rather stick closer to home, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank) and other government agencies work closely together; and are ready to work with you to forge strong relationships with foreign buyers and help you expand into international markets. 

Learn More

Interested in learning more about connecting with foreign buyers? This article is a review of the Success Stories from “A Basic Guide to Exporting.” You can learn more by downloading the entire guide here.  Developed by our partners at the Department of Commerce, the “Basic Guide to Exporting” outlines many issues that both new and experienced exporters should know about when competing for deals or entering a new market overseas.   

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