Export goods to increase your profits, reduce market dependence, and stabilize seasonal sales. Connect with Small Business Administration resources and partners to get help exporting.
Benefits of exporting
Nearly 96 percent of consumers live outside the U.S., and two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power is in foreign countries. If you’re a small business owner, here’s how to work with the Small Business Administration for your trade needs.
Get counseling and training
It may be easier to expand your market than you think. Even small businesses can get into exporting with the help of mentors and modern technology.
U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs)
USEACs help you explore the process of exporting at centers across the country. Each one is staffed by professionals from public and private organizations with experience in export assistance for small- and medium-sized businesses.
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) can also help. SBDCs are hosted by leading universities and state economic development agencies, and are partially funded through a partnership with SBA. Their advisors offer free business consulting and low-cost training services.
The SBA’s Office of International Trade can help any small business that faces barriers in accessing international markets. The office publicizes the small business benefits of U.S. trade agreements and helps protect the rights of small businesses under these agreements.
Find international buyers
Many small business owners don’t realize foreign sales opportunities are well within reach. To reach them, all you need to do is take advantage of federal programs designed to build the bridge to new markets.
State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)
STEP provides financial awards to state and territory governments to help small businesses with export their products.
STEP helps small businesses:
- Learn how to export
- Participate in foreign trade missions and trade shows
- Obtain services to support foreign market entry
- Develop websites to attract foreign buyers
- Design international marketing products or campaigns
Most states receive STEP support. Find out if your state does, then contact your local office to see how they can help you export your products and services.
Exporting finance programs
Most U.S. banks view loans for exporters as risky. This makes it harder for you to get loans for things like day-to-day operations, advance orders with suppliers, and refinancing existing debts. That’s why the SBA created programs to provide lenders with up to a 90 percent guaranty on export loans.
Export Express loan
Export Express lenders can directly underwrite a loan without getting prior approval from the SBA, which allows you to get capital quickly. Loans are typically approved within 36 hours, and can be up to $500,000.
Export Working Capital loan
Export Working Capital loans allow small business owners to apply for loans in advance of finalizing an export sale or contract, giving exporters greater flexibility in negotiating export payment terms. These loans can be up to $5 million, and the turnaround time is usually five to 10 business days.
International Trade Loan
International Trade loans help small businesses enter international markets and make investments to compete with other importers. These loans offer a combination of fixed asset, working capital financing, and debt refinancing with the SBA’s maximum guaranty of 90 percent on the total loan amount. The maximum loan is $5 million in total financing.