SCORE

Think big corporations lead the way in exporting products around the world? You might be surprised to learn that 97 percent of US exporters are small businesses, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Our new infographic, Small Business, Big Trade, highlights the importance of exporting for the success of many small companies.

Although fewer than one percent of America’s 30 million companies export, small businesses are gaining revenue share among them. In 2002, only 27 percent of revenue from US exports went to small businesses. Just 12 years later, that rate had risen to 33 percent in 2014, the Census Bureau reported.

Why exporting?

Why do businesses pursue exporting? First and foremost, increased sales and profits is a motivating factor. But having a diversified, expanded customer base is attractive, as is the opportunity to grow a business even in light of U.S. economic challenges, according to a survey by the National Small Business Association.

U.S. exporters grow faster and are less likely to go out of business, reports the Institute for International Economics.

The ins and outs of exports

Exporting starts with a journey not the product’s final destination. 48 percent of businesses surveyed said it took just a few weeks to start exporting. Twenty-five percent said it took a few months to get started, while 11 percent of respondents said it took several months. Only seven percent said that it took a year or more to launch their small-business exporting efforts.

Non-exporting businesses cite several concerns preventing them from going global, chief among them is that their goods or services aren’t exportable. Many small businesses don’t know how to start exporting. Payment, regulation and trade issues can be discouraging.

Want to start exporting your small business product? First, consider the resources you have available for this new project, including staff time and financial capital. If so, you can start to figure out how and to where you’ll export your products.

Meet with a SCORE mentor who can help you navigate the waters of exporting. Who knows—your product could be the next global sensation!