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Top 10 Issues for Small Business Exporters and How to Overcome Them
July 12, 2018 Office of Small Business

Many times a company’s first overseas sale happens because the international buyer found you. In these cases, company executives may not have thought through import aspects of selling outside of the U.S. The opportunity is enticing, but what to do next? Here 10 issues for small business exporters and links to resources to help overcome them:

Is your product export ready?
Selecting and preparing your product for export requires knowledge of the unique characteristics of each target market. The extent to which your company is willing to modify products sold for export markets is a key policy issue to be addressed. Some exporters believe their domestic products can be exported without significant changes. Others seek to develop uniform products that are acceptable in all markets. It is very important to do research and to be sure of the right strategy. Follow the link below for recommendations from chapter eight in the U.S. Commercial Service’s A Basic Guide to Exporting.

Considerations When Preparing your Product for Exporting

Is your company export ready?
Do you think your company should be growing sales by exporting? Is your boss too busy to listen? Trying to export without senior management support makes an opportunity a challenge. A successful small business exporter has a strategy, a plan, resources and executive commitment. You also need a DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet. Getting one is fast, easy and free. Finally, don’t think that the company is too small to export. EXIM supports companies and deals of all sizes!

Exporting. Your Company Needs it Now Tell Your Boss!

Get a DUNS Number to Establish Your Credit File

Exporting. No Business is Too Small.

What markets are good targets for your products and services?
Most U.S.-based small businesses rely solely upon domestic sales of their goods and services. The problem with this approach is threefold:

  • Over 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the U.S.
  • A recession or down turn in the U.S. economy could put your business at risk
  • Companies that export are 17 percent more profitable than those that don’t (U.S. Commercial Service fact in A Basic Guide to Exporting 11th Edition).

Fortunately, there are government resources to help you find the markets that are most appropriate for your product or service.

You Can't Pick Your Family, But You Can Pick Your Market

Have you identified an international buyer?
There’s nothing like experiencing an overseas market first-hand to understand how to sell there. The U.S. Commercial Service and other government agencies host in-country, face-to-face introductions to prospective international buyers. You don’t have to go it alone!

Finding International Buyers: Sometimes You Gotta Go!

Do you have enough cash to build products for export?
Businesses often shy away from exporting because of the lack of cash. Most feel they need collateral and cash in-hand to even start the process. The EXIM’s Working Capital Loan Guarantee unlocks the needed cash to purchase finished goods and/or the materials needed to make your product and pay employees who have direct action in the export side of your business.

No money? No problem. Lack of cash is no reason not to export.

How do I get paid?
When deciding to export, business owners consider several things including: does exporting align with the company’s growth strategy; do we understand what it takes to export profitably; and maybe most importantly: how do I get paid? Keep calm and read on.

5 Ways to Get Paid for Exports and Mitigate Risk

Why not just take credit cards as payment?
Have you ever ordered something with a credit card and when it arrives it’s not what you expected? Disputing that charge is easier than ever. A few clicks, the charge is removed and the inquiry process begins.

Taking credit cards for international orders? Let the seller beware!

Do you need international shipping expertise?
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, companies that export are 17 percent more profitable than those that don’t. While all customer transactions carry some level of administrative overhead, sales to companies and consumers outside of the United States require additional paperwork including correct labeling to ensure goods arrive at the right place at the right time, and documentation that meets U.S. and foreign governments’ rules and regulations.  Frankly, the bureaucracy surrounding shipping products overseas may seem daunting.  Fortunately, an experienced freight forwarder can help!

 An Experienced Freight Forwarder is Your Friend in Exporting


Is your website export ready?
The export strategy is clear, the marketing and sales teams are aligned and export credit insurance is in place. Time to take international orders, right? Oops, not so fast – is your website export ready?

Is Your Website Export Ready?

What is the next step?

That’s the easiest one of all! Click on the link below to register for a free consultation with your local EXIM representative.

Get a Free Export Finance Consultation Today!