Finding New Markets/Customers/Partners Everywhere

If you are looking for a bright spot in today’s economic news, think exports: in July 2011, the United States sold $178 billion in goods and services abroad, an all-time high, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Exports have actually been growing at a pace greater than the 15 percent required to double them by the end of 2014—the stated goal of the Obama administration.

Brazil, India and China — the three countries expected to account for more than 25 percent of world GDP in just five years’ time—are increasingly on a “Buy American” spree, creating an enormous opportunity for U.S. businesses. Turkey, Panama, South Africa, Argentina , Peru, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Egypt have all increased their consumption of U.S. goods and services by 25 percent or more over the last year.

This isn’t an opportunity just for big U.S. multinationals. Small and midsize companies account for almost 97 percent of U.S. exporters. In fact, more than two-thirds have fewer than 20 employees. Nonetheless, exporters are a select group: the vast majority of businesses don’t globally.  But with some two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power outside U.S borders, that’s probably a mistake. Add to that: with the Internet, It’s easier and more cost effective to go global than ever before.

Test the market: Want to know if your products have legs overseas? Take advantage of free tools such as Google key word search to investigate the popularity of your product in different markets.

Don’t worry about language: Daunted by the idea of doing marketing where you don’t know the language: take advantage of social media vehicles (i.e., Facebook) and get people who like your offering to promote it in the right target language.

Get an agent: Need a partner to represent you: find agents and distributors for your product via business-to-business matchmaking site such as Alibaba.com.

Last, but not least, you’ll need reliable, robust communications capabilities. A small business communications solution such as Avaya IP Office gives you lots of options for call coverage addressed to global needs, such as having announcements and other messages in a variety of languages or setting up a 24/7/365 call center.

Also, keep in mind that the U.S. government is wants you to export—and is prepared to help. The Jobs Act signed into law in 2010 enables the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide more export-related financing and also supports state grants. Is going global right for you? Start by using the interactive tool developed by the SBA: Six Steps to Begin Exporting, at www.export.gov/begin.

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About Vic Levinson
Telecommunications and IT professional with over 20 years experience in Business Telecommunications. Specializing in voice over IP (VoIP) for business: hosted VoIP, business VoIP phone systems, SIP providers, carriers, T1's - the works. Founded Prime Telecommunications in 1993 and providing business communications solutions. Cloud Applications- everything from hosted network security, hosted Disaster Recovery, hosted printer management, data centers and colocation solutions for businesses.

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