About CERTS and CERTS+

World's eye view.

The global marketplace we hear so much about isn't limited to large manufacturers. Brian Gauler should know. He helps companies with as few as 20 employees become "export ready."

The Center for Export Readiness both educates and bridges concerns that can impede manufacturers from reaching new markets and reaping increased profitability. Brian partners with federal and state agencies to ensure access to the widest possible array of resources. He frequently serves as a first contact for those new to exporting, offering seminars, publications and professional consultation to get them started.

Brian's book, Preparing for Global Marketing, describes steps manufacturers must take to successfully enter the international marketplace, including market research, international marketing plan and proactive strategies. Information on ordering, along with a free article titled "Is Exporting for Me?" is available at the web address below.

What is CERTS?

CERTS is an export training and services company formed by Brian Gauler. It was created in order to continue providing the programs, services and resource materials created by the Export Development Program, which was created by University of Missouri Outreach and Extension, and operated cooperatively with the Missouri Small Business Development Centers.

CERTS provides programs, services and materials to assist small businesses in identifying their global market potential and taking initial steps to successfully meet that potential.

CERTS focuses these assistance efforts on developing a firm's export readiness. This helps a firm become qualified for other state and federal agency export services that are generally designed for firms who are export ready.

What is CERTS+?

CERTS+ is an association of experienced and proven specialists in international business sales and marketing. To further enhance the abilities to assist a company in entering the international markets, CERTS+ adds to the basic training and market development focus of CERTS so a firm has a seamless process for entering the markets and establishing international distribution and sales. CERTS+ takes the company beyond training and provides hands-on guidance to actually make it happen! It begins with implementing the CERTS Global Market Development Program, and carries through until the company has success in becoming an international company in all aspects.

What are the goals?

The Center's goals are to:
  • Create awareness: alerting firms to their potential for marketing;
  • Assist networking: helping firms identify where they can obtain specific marketing assistance; and
  • Provide facilitating: assisting firms to understand the basics of global marketing and how to get started; identifying specific export services small businesses need and helping them obtain those services.

These goals are accomplished by Center staff who can help a firm become export ready and help them in their export development process.

What is “Export Readiness”?

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Commercial Service is the leading export service provider to American businesses nationwide. Their programs are designed for firms that are considered export ready, which generally means a firm should:
  • Have management commitment,
  • Identify primary target markets,
  • Select market entry strategies,
  • Develop an international market plan, and
  • Be prepared to seek, select and serve international distributor prospects.

What does CERTS offer?

CERTS provides two separate programs designed to assist in creating export awareness, developing export readiness and facilitating export development.

These inclued:

The Preparing for Global Marketing training program which focuses on providing a firm with guidelines for establishing overseas distribution and sales.

The Global Market Development Program which provides a step-by-step process to help a firm become export ready.

In addition to these two programs that are designed to provide a new-to-export firm with a step-by-step process for entering the international marketplace, CERTS+ staff is available to serve in a consulting capacity to assist a firm with specific international marketing needs as identified. Most companies implementing the programs determine further specific needs based on their export related efforts. These usually focus on evaluating the company’s existing internal support systems and their adequacy for serving newly determined international needs.

The Process

There are various ways a firm can get started in using programs and services from CERTS.

Usually they begin by reviewing the article entitled Is Exporting for Me? This four-page article provides pragmatic information regarding reasons for exporting, resources to assist and a six step process for developing export readiness.

Most firms who carefully review this information will be interested in learning more.

CERTS offers an extensive training program to meet these needs. Preparing for Global Marketing is a one-day program that focuses on global marketing. (Some materials from this program are presented elsewhere on this web site.)

Once a firm has completed the PGM training they generally are eager to implement the principles they have learned.

Two programs are available from CERTS to help them. The Global Market Development Program is an extensive 4-6 month program that guides a firm through a six task process to become export ready. An edited shorter version of the program called Preparing For Export Potential is also provided.

A firm can make use of these programs at any stage in their export development process. Fees charged for services are nominal, and are based on time and expense cost recovery.


The services can be used as soon as a company is willing to make a management commitment to exporting. Since CERTS focuses on export readiness, they may even learn they are not ready and avoid costly mistakes in doing something they are not prepared to do successfully. Once determined export ready, commitment is essential for success.


Firms that export realize many benefits. Some of the most notable are: increased sales and profits (most exporters have a significant portion of their sales from exporting, and generally experience higher profits); seasonality (seasonal products can have extended sales periods); enhanced company image (serving global markets tells others you are accepted world-wide); market diversification (foreign markets can balance U.S. market changes).

CERTS helps to introduce services available from the state and federal agencies by incorporating their services into the company's international marketing plan. In this manner, CERTS aids in the pre-qualification of firms for trade promotion services from Commercial Service and State Departments of Economic Development.

Target Audience

CERTS and CERT+ services are oriented to a manufacturer, but can be used for select service firms and value-added agriculture producers. A "profile" for the firm best suited for getting started in exporting:
  • $1m in sales
  • 20 or more employees
  • 2 years of profitable domestic experience.

Keys to success are firms who do a good job serving their markets domestically, are profitable and have someone to "champion" their exporting efforts.

Center for Export Readiness Training and Services
P.O. Box 495
Columbia, MO 65205

Last modified: February 24, 2012.
Comments or questions? email brian@export-ready.com