by Selma Canas, CGBP | December 22, 2021
Exporting is a team effort, as I alluded to in part one of this series, What is Exporting?. Exporting is a growth strategy for a company that is already successful in their domestic business. When building the internal expansion team, management will need to determine the number of employees, hours, and budget needed to reach their export goals without disrupting the domestic side of the house.
The external team should include an international banker, accountant and attorney. First, reach out to the practitioners you are already doing business with to determine if they have an international division. If not, maybe they can provide a referral or seek a referral from another resource.
Tampa Bay Organization of Women in International Trade (TBOWIT) is a trade association made up of practitioners and service providers in international business. Some of these include freight forwarders and customs brokers, airport and port representatives, consulting services, attorneys, bankers and accountants who specialize in international business. TBOWIT events provide networking opportunities with people that can help companies with their export expansion efforts.
The U.S. Commercial Service (USCS) is the export assistance center at the federal level and they have offices nationwide and at U.S. Embassies in more than 70 countries. They provide market entry assistance to U.S. companies that are export ready. They provide a myriad of services from vetting a potential lead to setting up meetings with companies who want to do business with you. They provide information, education, resources, market intelligence and so much more. Visit https://www.trade.gov/clearwater-contact-us for local office contact information.
Enterprise Florida (EFI) provides assistance to export ready Florida companies and have international offices in 20 countries. They provide reimbursable grants to help cover the cost of trade shows, business matchmaking, export marketing plans, website globalization, and much more. Visit https://www.enterpriseflorida.com/export-from-florida/trade-offices/ for the local office contact information.
USCS and EFI host trade shows and trade missions in all industry sectors all over the world.
Global Tampa Bay is made up of local economic development agencies from Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties and provides export assistance to new and experienced exporters in their respective counties. Global Tampa Bay hosts trade missions to key international markets and facilitates export expansion efforts together with the USCS, EFI and Florida SBDC at USF.
The Florida SBDC at USF aids small and medium enterprises who want to grow their business by exporting. International trade specialists provide no-cost consulting to new and experienced exporters, as well as, information, education, resources and market research. They develop export marketing plans in partnership with EFI and the USCS to help companies identify those countries with the best sales potential for their product and/or service.
If you are new to exporting, the best place to start is with the Florida SBDC at USF. Once the company is export ready, the next step will be to conduct market research and develop an export strategy plan, together with the USCS and EFI, and identify global opportunities. This will be the topic for part three of this series – Where to Export.