An export is any movement of items outside the country. That includes items sent by regular mail or hand carried on an airplane; documents transmitted by fax; software or specifications downloaded from the internet; and technology transmitted by email or shared in a phone conversation.
An item is also considered an export even if it is leaving the U.S. temporarily, or if it is being returned to a foreign country. Finally, releasing technology or data to a foreign national located in the U.S. is also “deemed” to be an export.
Once you understand what is an export, it’s important to understand how to be a successful exporter. Here are several important tips you can use to develop a successful, respectable exporting business:
1. Develop Your Export Strategy
Identify products to sell.
If you have a product that is selling well in the United States, it’s not unusual to attempt to sell that same product or products in other markets as well. After all, 95% of the world’s consumers are located outside the U.S. And many areas of the world, like Asia, have a rapidly growing middle class.
But limiting your exporting to only your fastest selling products in the U.S. may be limiting your export potential. Products that may face growing competition in the U.S. or products that are becoming outdated in this country could find new life in other markets that don’t have similar competition or need the very latest technology.
Identifying which products you end up exporting depends a great deal on the markets you wish to sell to, which leads to the section below.
Identify markets to sell to.
Before you can sell and export your products, you need to find people to buy them. Maybe you are already receiving inquiries from certain potential customers in certain countries. Maybe you’ve self-identified logical new markets for your goods.
In either case, you need to spend time learning about these potential new markets. This includes identifying the market potential, learning how to properly (and legally) export your products or services to that market, identifying sales channels, and more. Do your research to determine what kind of modifications you may need to make to your product for this market, what the import duty rates are, and whether or not their are any U.S. export restrictions.
Make sure you understand the risk factors in potential new markets. All countries have various levels of risk associated with them. Fortunately, there many free tools available on the web to make that assessment. Download the free white paper that explains this process: Evaluating Export Markets: Assessing Country and Customer Risks.