At EXIM Bank, we are constantly on the lookout for supporting small businesses that want to scale to the next level. To many businesses, that “next level” can mean focusing on selling to other markets that don’t necessarily speak English. This can be a daunting task for small businesses as they are usually tied down with limited resources and time to start an export business.
The Business Journal recently published a report on the 10 traits and tactics of fast-growing companies and some interesting highlights came out that small business owners should pay attention to such as – 9 out of 10 fast growing companies are not startups, they are businesses that have been around for more than five years. These businesses also average around $6 to $8 million in annual sales and have between 23 and 28 employees. But, at EXIM, we want to focus on the tactics that define “fast growing exporters” because we want to educate small business owners on what it takes to succeed abroad.
Here are the four tactics:
- Vet buyers properly
Are you starting to receive inquiries from leads outside the U.S., but you’re not sure if they are legitimate requests? In foreign business culture, it’s critical to meet face to face with your potential partners, distributors or customers in order to develop a relationship long-term. Do heavy research online, visit their facility and/or contact the U.S. embassy to further vet these foreign contacts.
- Create a systematic documentation process
If you export, you MUST document properly and create a systematic process to ensure success abroad. In order to reduce the chances of experiencing fraud and to follow global standards, please click here to download our export documentation checklist.
- Sell on credit
Do you only allow cash in advance? Have you looked into allowing your buyers to purchase on net 30, net 60, etc.? Providing this option is very enticing to buyers as they don’t necessarily have all the cash on hand to pay up front, especially with larger purchases. Furthermore, buyers tend to purchase more when they have "open account" credit terms as they have to worry less about cash flow issues. EXIM can help protect your business if your foreign buyer fails to pay through export credit insurance.
- Use available government resources
Many businesses are not aware of the vast number of government programs that can help support a company’s growth overseas. The Department of Commerce has several low-cost programs including the Gold Key Matching program, which arranges face-to-face meetings with pre-screened potential buyers, sales reps and business partners. There are also International Buyer Program (IBP) trade shows run by the U.S Commercial Service that take place year round to help arrange meetings with foreign delegations. Take a look at our exporter’s checklist to learn more about how to expand overseas and take advantage of government resources.
Looking to join the “fast growing exporters” club?
The tactics above explain how exporters are growing at fast rates. As a result, companies have higher productivity and hire more people. Is your small business interested in looking to expand sales abroad? If so, contact us for help identifying trade financing solutions to boost your foreign sales. Click below to request a consultation and find out if your business qualifies for EXIM Bank solutions: