OUR WEBLOG: EXCERPTS OF EXPORTS
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Why Export Now!
As we are all aware, times are tough but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t opportunity out there-somewhere in the world. And somewhere in the world someone needs and wants what you have to sell. Not only does exporting even out the dips and valleys in domestic sales, increasing your market grows your brand.
According to SEO expert, Gillian Muessig, globalizing should be done in good times and even faster in bad times. I don’t agree with the faster part since entering global markets requires more expertise and caution than selling domestically. However I don’t think that only selling to one market is a good idea either…especially when times are bad.
As a consultant in Michigan, I met with dozens of suppliers to the auto industry. While they had lower margins as approved suppliers to the auto industry, they had the business and it was a very good business. But we all know what happened to the auto industry in Michigan. I would try to convince suppliers of the sound practice of diversifying but they would typically not hear of it. They were busy filling the orders of their primo customer with no time or interest in looking to other markets. Most of the suppliers that I spoke with depended on the auto industry for the majority of their business, up to 95% of sales. And where are those companies now?
One good way to determine where your product might do well is, of course, to look at your Google Analytics. If you are getting lots of hits or even better lots of inquiries from a certain region of the world, start to investigate that area. But don’t assume that interest from a certain country can be viewed as a single market. There are many regional variations; cultural differences, diverse dialects, and views. That is the challenge, but it also the fun of it.
If you need help targeting markets based on visits to your website, check out our services under Consultation.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Don’t Pay Duties on Imported Parts
Interesting article in last weekend’s WSJ that got me thinking about duties paid by US companies that are not owed. But first the article that makes the point that U.S. trade imbalances are not as bad as they seem.
The example given is China. China imports $146.00 worth of components adds their $4.00 worth of components but then has an export to the U.S. that is valued at $150. The author, John Miller, states that if only the value added by China, in this case $4.00, was the value of the export then the trade deficit would be 30% lower than it is now stated to be. He takes it one step further by looking at the issue from a political perspective when he says “inflated trade deficits with China stoke fears in the U.S. about job losses”.
So now on to the needless payment of duties by U.S. companies. In working with manufacturers, I find that they do not know they pay duties on imported parts. I always advise that they determine what duties they are actually paying on components that they then re-export. Not having to pay the duty could be the difference between being competitive in a foreign market or not. True or not, one thing is certain. If you are not required to pay the duty don’t pay it. Instead the U.S. exporter should investigate these two options: Duty Drawback or a Free Trade Zone.
1. Duty Drawback is where the company goes through a fair amount of paperwork an get most of their duty returned. You pay it since it is incorporated into the price of the component and then you get it returned to you. Duty Drawback requires the cooperation of the company who sells you the product.
2. Set-up or become a part of a free trade zone (FTZ) where you import the products into the FTZ and include it in the end product and then re-export. The manufacturing of the product is actually done in the FTZ. This is sort of a limbo area where there are no duties or quotas added to imported products.
Of course, you need to find out how much in duties you are actually paying to determine if this is a wise move. If you would like additional information, please e-mail me at and I will arrange for your 30 minute free consultation.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Traveling Tricks of the Trade
Good article in the WSJ about how women should dress for travel. There is one line in particular that fits for the business traveler. Brown researches the “norms of her destination”. You can easily make a bad first impression before you even open your mouth if your dress is inappropriate. What is acceptable in one country may not be in another country. So adapt your wardrobe.
Another good point that Brown brings up is that by fitting in with the dress of the destination, you are also blending in and therefore less likely to be a target of crime. One of my tips, especially if you are traveling alone, is to always look like you know where you are going even if you don’t. Looking at a map or looking confused could attract the wrong type of attention.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Another GREAT Example of Selling the Feel Along with the Product
There was an insert in the Wall Street Journal last week. The insert was an ad for BMW, full color and measuring 32"x44".
This ad is as great as the Honda campaign of the 60’s. It is visually very attractive with splashes of red to bring your eye all around this large marketing piece. It addresses the global audience as it is comprised mostly of pictures with very little copy needing to be translated.
In the ad, BMW emphasizes the “feeling” as much as the product. The line is “...what you make people feel is just as important as what you make.”
And what are you to feel as an owner of a BMW? JOY. And what is JOY?
JOY IS YOUTHFUL as is demonstrated in the example of a picture of a “young”, fit man of retirement age.
JOY IS MATERNAL shown with a picture of an infant safely secured in his car seat.
And let us not forget performance and power with JOY CAN BE COUNTED complete with shiny numbers all the way up to V8.
The point of the pictures and the whole advertisement is summarized with:
We do not make cars.
We are the creators of emotion.
We are the keepers of thrill.
We are the guardians of the three letter word.
JOY oh, excuse me. JOY. The period, the point...the point of the entire ad.
Brilliant ad. It got and held my attention.
But what I said is only part of what is expressed in this ad. Click here to tell us what I missed.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Imbalance of Trade between China and the United States
I am not usually in agreement with Joseph Stiglitz but he MAY have a point about how to balance trade between the U.S. and China.
Click here to get Stiglitz views and then tell me what you think.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Communicating to a Global Audience
Answers to some basic questions. Click here to a access a good ezine article.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Whether an established company or a start-up, you should look at everything you do in the way of branding from an international perspective. If you have a good idea of the export markets you might target, look at your branding through the eyes of that international audience. Starting with a good product is key. But that is not the only thing. If no one knows about or wants your great product, it won’t sell. Take for example Honda’s entrée into the motorbike industry. Theirs was one of the best marketing strategies ever.
Before Honda came on the scene in the early sixties, motorbikes and motor cycles were considered transportation for outlaws and greasers. Yet Honda virtually changed the whole perception of motorcycles seemingly overnight. How?
Honda looked at the target market ideal in the US which, at the time, was California and surfing. It was a definite movement of the times complete with surfing songs and groups like The Beach Boys. Thus were included in the ads the prototypical California surfers, all tan and fit and wholesome looking. Add in the tagline of You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda Bike, and the negative view of “outlaw bikers” was eliminated. So not only did Honda change the market segment, they also enjoyed the First Mover advantage and became the early occupants of a market segment that they developed.
By 1962, Honda had 750 dealers. Sales went from 40,000 units sold to 200,000 units…in one year. In 1963 came the tagline. Then Honda cemented that image by becoming the first foreign corporation to sponsor the Academy Awards linking Honda to the glamor of Hollywood, also in California.
More on branding on Thursday’s blog. Please click here to tell your branding story!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Blog on Exports to China
It seems that the Chinese are hopeful that the new National Export Iniative will result in the lifting of the ban of US high tech products to China. To read the entire blog, click here.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
National Export Iniative
There is a Federal initiative to double US exports within five years. In an effort to meet that goal, the International Trade Administration (ITA) has launched a yearlong program to help existing US exporters enter new markets. This should be a good service as existing exporters do not have to be educated in doing business abroad as do the new to export. Other efforts include working with private sector partners to increase exporting. As a private sector service provider, I see this as a good plan since there are some things that the governement does not do that the potential exporter must do for himself. For example, the government does not qualify potential exporters.
Other than a very basic export ready overview, the potential exporter must determine his export readiness or enlist the help of a consultant. Having worked in the public sector myself, I would often meet companies that saw exporting as a way to prop up sales when domestic sales lagged. Exporting takes more time and more money than domestic sales. And patience. Companies that spread too few resources over too many markets can end up going out of business. And if they manage to stay afloat, these companies would then abandon any inroads that they had made in foreign markets when domestic sales picked back up. Before a company seriously considers exporting as a way to grow business, they must see if they have both the financial and human resources for the long haul. It usually takes a year of dedicated effort before any international sales become a reality
ITA will also emphasize the Gold Key service provided by the Commercial Service. I have had several clients who have used this service on more than one occasion and have recommended them. These are for the very experienced and the not so experienced exporter. For additional information, please click here.
Please click here if you would like to opine.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Good News from Ex-Im Bank for U.S. Exporters
Starting 1 December 2009, U.S. exporters designated as small businesses under Small Business Administration standards, and with annual export credit sales of $7,500,000 or less, now are eligible for enhanced coverage under Ex-Im Bank’s short-term small business multibuyer insurance policy. Previously the eligibility ceiling was $5,000,000. “This change is designed to increase U.S. small business exports by expanding the availability of financing to them,” said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg. “Exporting is critical to creating and preserving American jobs, especially while the current global financial crisis is being resolved.”
Over the past year, Ex-Im Bank has launched a number of other initiatives to strengthen support for small business exporters in the face of the economy’s tightened liquidity. For example, the Bank opened its working capital guarantee program to indirect U.S. exporters. Companies that produce goods or services that are sold to U.S. companies, and are subsequently exported, are now eligible to apply for working capital loans guaranteed by Ex-Im Bank.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Ten Reasons Why YOU Should Export
1. Reach a greater share of the market. You may be doing well in the domestic market but did you know that 95% of consumers live outside the U.S.?
2. The value of the dollar. It might not be a good time to travel abroad but it is a great time to export. First make sure that your products comply with the Made in America designation? Show the rest of the world what they were missing not having your products.
3. It is easier to do business internationally. Whether you communicate via e-mail or telephone, it costs practically nothing to get to know your international customer. Tools like VoIP are providing more options all the time. And you can test most for free for 30 days.
4. Marketing data is at your fingertips. With all the information there is on the Internet, you can learn about your competition abroad. Just make sure that the information is up-to-date
5. Growing middle class. While there is great opportunity to target more consumers worldwide, don’t assume that your domestic marketing plan is transferable. Careful planning is required. You need to be as serious about your export marketing plan as your domestic marketing plan. For more information, see the experts in exports.
6. Privatization of industry worldwide. You may have noticed that emerging markets are privatizing industry providing U.S. companies with opportunity.
7. Grow jobs right here in the U.S. Producing more=hiring more. You build your sales and the workforce for a healthier economy. Though a few years old, BNET makes the point.
8. Diversifying is smart. Why target a single economy when there is at least one other market abroad where your products will do well. For help on where to start, go the this website: Ready to Export.
9. Your competition is doing it. Your competition isn’t just domestic any longer. Combine losing market share and Reason #6 and you have two good reasons to check out exporting.
10.Exporting can open up a whole new world. EXPORT...SEE THE WORLD. YOU WILL BE GLAD YOU DID.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Attention Ladies…it is time to go global
Ladies...want to maintain and grow market share? Interesting article from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).
Women’s businesses will need to source goods and services from outside U.S. borders if they want to grow corporate business and avoid losing it, says a top line finding of a Global Business Survey conducted by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Climb Aboard the Export Express
One of the purposes of my blog is to notify exporters of government programs that assist companies in different ways. Some are seminars, webinars and in the case of the Export Express program, which provides financing for L/Cs, translations, capital goods, etc. When I worked as an international trade specialist for state government, I saw how the Export Express enabled companies to compete globally. Often Export Express was the deciding factor in taking advantage of the export opportunity.
Now the Export Express program is set to expire in a few months. In fact, there is a full committee hearing by the House Small Business Committee on Small Business Exports in the Current Economic tomorrow. If you have used this service you know how valuable it is. If you haven’t you can go on the SBA site and see all the benefits of the program. I think you will be impressed with the wide range of services.
If you agree that this is a valuable program and want to see it continue, you can help. And here’s how!
Contact the following influentials:
Luz Hopewell - SBA Office of International Trade
Richard Ginsburg- SBA Office of International Trade
Senator John Kerry- Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Senator Olympia Snowe- Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Representative Nydia M. Velazquez - House Small Business Committee
Representative Steve Chabot House Small Business Committee
All you have to do is click on the above names and send an e-mail. It only takes a minute. I know I have done it.
Come back soon. I will let you know what happened.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
SBA Loan Programs for Small Business Exporters.
CLIMB ABOARD THE EXPORT EXPRESS
Now is the time for exporters to learn if they are eligible for
a revolving line of credit from the SBA. The Export Express
Pilot Program may end 30 September 2008
if other loan programs are deemed sufficient to meet
the needs of small business exporters.
Another loan program that the SBA offers is the International Trade Loan
for companies that have “been adversely affected” by competition from imports.
The SBA also offers other services to help small business and small business
Go on the SBA website for qualifications and information on how to apply for
these loans programs. While you’re there, check out the other services offered by the
SBA to help small businesses export.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Columbia Free Trade Agreement
Free Trade with Columbia has been in the news a lot lately. Passage of the agreement, and those to Panama and South Korea, is one of the big goals of the Bush Administration in the last days of his presidency. There are a lot of politics involved in this situation especially in a national election year.
We can all remember the “giant sucking sound” that Ross Perot put forth as a result of NAFTA. According to Perot, U.S. jobs would primarily go to Mexico.The giant sucking sound painted a great picture, but not true.From 2003-2006, U.S. exports grew at twice the rate of the economy and were 12% of GDP. And according to Fed-Ex, for every 40 new packages exported from the U.S., a new job is add to the economy. Free trade brings opportunities for U.S. companies and at this time of downturn, is another step in keeping our economy on track. (For additional information on NAFTA, check out our previous blogs, the Region of the Month and our March newsletter.)
Countries want trade agreements that are reciprocal, as is the case with the proposed agreement with Columbia. A free trade agreement with the U.S. provides greater stability and encourages foreign investment in Columbia.
But the agreement also benefits the U.S. and here’s how:
1. Most U.S. goods going to Columbia pay a duty of 12.5%. This results in U.S. products being less competitive. And most products coming from Columbia to the U.S. are duty free. So the U.S. needs a level playing field.
2. Strategically Columbia is very important to the U.S. We need a strong friend in a region since Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela is doing what he can to de-stabilize the area and become the driving force in South America.
3. With a treaty comes greater intellectual property protection and more transparency transactions.
So this makes great sense economically and strategically. And don’t believe all the things you hear about free trade. While there may be displacement of some jobs,typically lower paying jobs, there has been an increase in better paying jobs as a result of NAFTA. For additional information on any trade agreement.