Are you part of a supply chain? Do you sell your product(s) to U.S.-based companies that incorporate it into their goods and then sell those goods to international buyers? Congratulations, you’re an exporter. And being an exporter comes with benefits.
First, let’s look at different ways of exporting. The most straightforward, as mentioned above, is to fulfill orders from domestic companies that then export the product. Business as usual, as long as nothing interferes with your current client base. International buyers love U.S. products and U.S.-based small businesses interested in increasing revenue in a low risk way may want to consider a relationship with one or more intermediary companies that provide a range of export services including:
- Confirming Houses
- Export Management Companies
- Export Trading Companies
- Export Agents, Merchants or Remarketers
- Piggyback Marketing
Confirming Houses are agents hired by foreign buyers to purchase products. They negotiate deals with U.S. companies and are paid a commission by the foreign buyer they represent. Information about Confirming Houses can be obtained from foreign government embassies and the U.S. Commercial Service.
Export Management Companies
An export management company can act as your export department, without the overhead and administrative burden of doing it yourself. Specializing by product or foreign market, or both, export management companies already have a distribution network in place, providing immediate access to foreign markets.
Export Trading Companies
Similar to an export management company, an export trading company can be your outsourced export department, or they may take title to your products and sell them through their international distribution network.
Export Agents, Merchants or Remarketers
Are any of your business partners private labeling your products? That’s what an export agent, merchant or remarketer may do, buying your product directly for you, repackaging to their specification and selling overseas at their own risk.
Another low cost, low risk market entry strategy is piggyback marketing where a U.S. company that is exporting overseas needs to supply a wide range of products to the foreign buyer, some of which they do not produce themselves. This is a B2B transaction between you and a domestic buyer, just like you are doing today.
Exporting not only increases revenue streams and is a hedge against downturns in other markets, it comes with benefits! Products like the Working Capital Guarantee from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank) provide pre-export loans from a commercial lender, guaranteed by EXIM Bank, to purchase raw materials and labor, and fund overhead costs incurred to fill an export sales order.
Interested in learning more about the nuts and bolts of exporting? This article is a synopsis of Chapter 5: Methods and Channels 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.