At the beginning of every January, individuals come up with New Year’s resolutions, but often times, they find themselves not following through on their promises within the first few months. And for small businesses, a New Year’s resolution could mean hitting the “refresh” button and/or finding new opportunities to take their business to new heights; but often times, small businesses fail to follow through on their plans.
At the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) we are committed to helping small businesses thrive in 2017 by educating them on how to grow sales abroad white mitigating the risk when dealing with foreign buyers. We understand resources and time are limited for small businesses, so not only have we outlined predictions, threats and new opportunities for small businesses in 2017 but we have also identified government programs that will jumpstart a small businesses’ growth in the short-term:
- If you’re in the early stages of preparing your business to sell abroad or you’re looking for general counseling and advice, please read below:
- Small Business Administration
There are over 60 small business development centers across the U.S. aimed at providing counseling to small businesses on things such as business plans, marketing, international trade, production, feasibility studies, etc.
A nonprofit that is made up of thousands of volunteers and retired business executives. They serve as counselors, advisors and mentors to business owners and entrepreneurs who are seeking guidance and/or have questions about how to grow their business.
- EXIM Bank: Export Finance Solutions
EXIM Bank is a one-stop shop for all of your export finance questions. Are you looking to free up cash to fulfill that export order? Are you looking to get insurance on your export invoices in case your foreign buyer can’t pay? We can help reduce the risk substantially when selling abroad - allowing you to sleep better at night!
- IC-DISC: Tax Incentive
Many small businesses are not aware that there is a tax incentive for exporters called “IC-DISC”. It applies to companies who manufacture, produce, grow or extract within the U.S. and want to sell abroad. The tax incentive helps reduce federal income tax, improve your competitive advantage and it’s completely non-invasive to normal business operations.
- Export Legal Assistance Center (ELAN)
ELAN is one of the most underutilized programs out there and businesses in general tend to seek out export legal counseling AFTER something has happened, which shouldn’t be the case. This cooperative program was created to help small businesses avoid any legal situations before they export and the initial consultation is free.
- If you’re looking to participate in specific programs and events that help get your small business in front of foreign buyers, please read below:
- Economic Development Office: STEP Program
The State Trade Expansion Program provides financial assistance to small businesses across the U.S. looking to expand abroad. The extra money helps them participate in trade shows, trade missions, design international marketing campaigns, etc.
- Department of Commerce:
- Gold Key Service
Gold Key is the match.com of exporting. It’s run by the Department of Commerce and it’s a cost-recovery fee-based program that matches small businesses with interested foreign buyers, partners and distributors.
- International Buyer Program (IBP)
If you’re a small business that is willing to attend or exhibit at a domestic trade show with international presence, this program is for you. The IBP program typically selects 25 to 35 industry-specific trade shows a year and a small business can arrange meetings at these shows with vetted international buyers through the Showtime program.
- Trade Missions
Participating in organized trade missions abroad are a great opportunity for businesses to meet foreign buyers using the U.S. Commercial Services’ network and foreign industry knowledge.
If you’re a small business that is ready to jump across oceans and begin selling abroad or if you’re looking to expand into more foreign markets, feel free to contact one of our EXIM Bank trade specialists to help you plan ahead!