Small business owners, do you need more information to make better decisions about exporting? Of course you do, and a recent Webinar by Florida SBDC at FIU provided a wealth of good advice about how to do just that.
Here are some of the resources available through Florida SBDC at FIU on this topic:
Shelly Bernal, a consultant for FSBDC at FIU who specializes in international trade and growth strategy, recommends working with information that can be found in the Global industry Analysis and trade flow data and compiling lists of companies that potentially could be your customers in other countries. Florida SBDC has access to these resources and can help small businesses interested in exporting with their strategies.
Bernal and SBDC partner with Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development organization, and as part of that partnership, Bernal can compile an Export Marketing Plan for a small business that includes industry research, ranking of countries by probability of success, and market entry strategies. Each plan is typically over a hundred pages, and once a company has the plan, then Enterprise Florida can support the business in the implementation of the plan. For instance, new-to-export or infrequent exporters can apply for a reimbursable Gold Key/Matchmaker Grant, a Target Sector Trade Show Grant, or potentially participate in an Enterprise Florida overseas trade mission. The cost of the plan is $5,000 but Enterprise Florida will provide a grant that pays $4,500 of that to qualifying companies.
About trade financing, Sarah Elkenberry of First American Bank talked about different payment structures. As an exporter you have options including an open revolving line of credit, an asset based line of credit, which can give you a larger line of credit, a transactional line of credit that includes accounts receivable and purchase order financing, and factoring, often used by newer companies.
Trade credit insurance (the most important), a letter of credit and documentary collection services can be tools to help you manage the risk and protect yourselves, she said. It’s important to understand your credit options, minimize your payment risk and find the right partners.
There are also a number of federal resources for US exporters, said Mary Hernandez of the SBA. SBA offers a number of export loans, including the Export Express (up to $500,000) for marketing and export development; Export Working Capital Program to fulfil specific export orders up to $5 million; and International Trade Loan, with a $ million limit, which can be used for equipment and can help a business retool to make itself more competitive.
The International Trade Administration also has a number of resources available, such as partner searches, virtual introductions and assistance in selecting overseas market. The EXIM Bank is another terrific resource, Hernandez said. EXIM’s short-term export credit insurance is not expensive can be a competitive edge for your companies, she said.
“You have so many resources available to you, please taken advantage,” Hernandez said. Elkenberry added that it’s important to have these conversations with your lender about where you are looking to go so you can plan accordingly. Small businesses can use any combination of these various financing options, she said.
Watch the webinar here for more great information about resources available to you.
RIND MORE RESOURCES AND TIPS IN THESE GROWBIZ REPORTS: