Getting Started

Today, it’s more practical than ever for a company like yours, regardless of size, to sell goods and services across the globe. 95 percent of the world’s potential consumers are outside of the United States, and the global affinity for Made in USA products and services is second to none. Many exporters continue to boost their bottom line and build their competitiveness by selling to world markets, and you can too. U.S. small and medium-sized companies account for 98 percent of the nearly 280,000 exporting businesses. The internet, improved logistics options, and array of federal, state, and local export assistance has made exporting more viable for even the smallest businesses. And as thousands of exporters can attest, diversifying your customer base through exporting can help to weather changes in the domestic and global economies.

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If you can say “yes” to more than 50% of the questions below, you’re ready to export. For the questions you answer “no” to, Export Montana is here to help you.

Key Export Success Factors

  • Are you committed to developing export markets?
    Management commitment is the number one determining factor for export success, and an essential part of any export plan.
  • Do you have a product or service that has successfully sold in the domestic market?
    A product or service's success in the domestic market is a good indicator of its potential for export success. If your product or service is untried in the domestic marketplace, you could benefit from concentrating on domestic sales first.
  • Do you have production capacity that can be committed to the export market? Will financing be required for any expansion?
    Can your company meet the increased demand it is creating? More space and equipment might be required to manufacture for the specific countries (which often have their own product standards and regulations) you are selling to. Financing might be needed to include any product modification costs.
  • Do you have the financial resources to support an increase in sales?
    A big hurdle for many companies is market development, as it requires funds for activities such as international travel, trade missions, trade show participation, market research, and business training.
  • Can you modify ingredients and packaging to meet foreign import regulations, cultural preferences, and survive competition?
    Selecting and preparing your product for export requires both knowledge of the product and the unique characteristics of each target market. However, before the sale can occur, your product may need to be modified to satisfy buyer tastes, or regulatory requirements in foreign countries.

Helpful, But Not Always Essential

  • Do you have an export business plan with defined goals and strategies?
    Many companies begin export activities haphazardly, without carefully screening markets or options for market entry. Without an export plan, better export opportunities are often overlooked. Start by formulating a well-thought-out export strategy. View My Export Plan, Research the Global Market Place, and Select Initial Markets.
  • Do you have both U.S. and foreign Intellectual Property Protection for your product?
    U.S. businesses should know that protecting your intellectual property domestically does not extend your protection internationally, so companies should do their research first before exporting. View Protecting Your IP Abroad.
  • Do you have knowledge of overseas shipping, like identifying freight forwarders and costs to ensure customs clearance overseas?
    When shipping a product overseas, be aware of packing, labeling, documentation and insurance requirements. Also, be familiar with methods of shipping, import rules and regulations of foreign countries, and export regulations of the U.S. government.
  • Do you have knowledge and experience of export payment methods, such as developing and negotiating letters of credit?
    Experienced exporters have extensive knowledge of export payment mechanisms, extend credit cautiously, and monitor older accounts. A U.S. Commercial Service International Company Profile (ICP) provides key information for credit checks. View Methods of Payment and Get Export Counseling which highlights the International Company Profile.
  • Do you have knowledge and understanding of U.S. export controls and compliance?
    Check to see if your product might require an export license, particularly if your product has military or dual military/civilian use. There are several U.S. government agencies that oversee licensing requirements for distinct categories of products. View U.S. Export Regulations.

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Exporting Basics

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