|September 2001; Vol.10 Issue 9|
|The Resource for Small and Emerging Businesses|
www.kcsmallbiz.com • www.thebizstream.com
If there is any one area that has seen incredible
improvement over the past few years to support
small businesses, it's the number of resources
available to assist today's global marketer.
Granted most of the impact has been through
Internet-accessed sites, but that has also
generated additional awareness of other solid
resources long taken for granted.
Despite the great increase in Internet resources available, without someone to help gather, interpret and analyze the data relative to your specific needs, the information isn't of much value. Before you get hyped about using the Net, make appointments with the key "people" resources:
• U.S. Department of Commerce, Commercial Service. The office in Kansas City is an Export Assistance Center, and you can reach a trade specialist by calling (816) 4109201. Make an appointment to visit and learn about their many services. Most are free, but, some have nominal fees and can be very costeffective. If time doesn't permit a visit, ask them to come see you. There's no charge, and it will be worth it to learn if you have global potential.
• Missouri Department of Economic Development, Office of International Marketing. With a staff of over a dozen qualified international managers, the state can provide services in addition to those available from the federal government. Call (573) 751-4855 for information. The nice thing about working with a state trade specialist is their overseas offices are paid by the state, and therefore you will receive priority attention for assistance from the specific overseas office.
• World Trade Clubs. Every major U.S. city generally has a world trade club organization whose members are actively involved in international business. They make wonderful networking resources, and you should know who they are. Contact the International Trade Club of Greater Kansas City at (816) 471-2288.
Identifying Web resources isn't a problem-editing them into a workable number is! Don't limit yourself to those provided here. Although it covers a majority of export-related needs, this list is not all-inclusive. Export SupporNProviders • www.ita.doc.gov Check the U.S. Department of Commerce site (the listing for the Kansas City office is at www.usatrade.gov) before calling
so you can see what they offer.
• www.usda.gov Here's the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You can reach their FAS (Foreign Agriculture Service) information at www.fas.usda.gov.
• www.ecodev.state.mo.us/internark The Missouri Department of Economic Development international site is a great way to get preliminarily acquainted with their services.
• www.tradecompass.com A subscription Web site, this provides an extensive amount of information and networking to a full range of resources.
• www exporthotline.com Here's information on how to export and other useful research issues.
• www.score.org The Service Corps of Retired Executives provides free counseling to small businesses new to exporting.
• www.export-ready.com Designed to provide export readiness information for the starting exporter, be sure to check the "Export Marketing Information Series" with 18 free PDF files you can download.
• www.customs.ustreas.gov/imp-exp This is especially valuable for companies who want to look at importing (raw materials, foreign sourced parts) as well as some aspects of exporting rules and regulations.
• www.stat-usa.gov This provides extensive assistance via the NTDB (National Trade Data Bank). It requires a subscription and the amount of data can be overwhelming. (Check with your trade specialist and/or librarian to see if they can get what you want-free!).
• www.strategis.ic.gc.ca This free Canadian site provides trade statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce in a very user-friendly format.
• www.ciber.bus.msu.edu/busres.htm This Michigan State University site has numerous links to other international business locations.
• www.pangaea.net This lists international trade leads and is a good resource for business information and research reports.
• www.europages.com The European Business Directory contains a database of over 150,000 companies in Europe.
• www.expoweb.com or www.tscentral.com Expo Web and Trade Show Central provide
world-wide listings of trade shows. (Check with your trade specialist to see if there's an American Pavilion or if the state is participating in the show you're interested in).
• www.graydonamerica.com GraydonAmerica is considered one of the leading companies for providing credit reports for international business.
• www.xe.com/ucc This site bills itself as the world's most popular Internet currency converter, with over 180 currencies!
• www.babel.altavista.com Here's a great place to get a general translation of any incoming correspondence in a foreign language.
Many consider print publications outdated for today's global manager, but that's rather narrow thinking-especially for those who are not avid Internet users. Every new-to-export firm should have the following:
• A Basic Guide to Exporting. Published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, this is the single most important book for the new exporter or a business thinking about exporting. It's available from the Superintendent of Documents for $14.95 (but ask your DOC trade specialist if they will give you one).
• Trade Secrets: The Export Answer Book. Prepared by the Michigan Small Business Development Center, this book is based on frequently asked questions and makes an excellent complement to the Basic Guide. It's available for $25 by calling (313) 964-1798.
• Preparing for Global Marketing. Written to help a firm become "export ready," this focuses on basic global marketing concepts with an emphasis on developing an international marketing plan. Available for $12.50 by contacting www.export-ready.com.
• Export America. Published monthly by the U.S. Department of Commerce, this magazine is a quick way to keep abreast of key international export topics. For subscription information, contact the Kansas City Export Assistance Center (816-410-9201).
The world is composed of over 170 markets. Using good resources to provide continuous backup is a real key for successful international dealings.
Brian Gauler is executive director of the Center for Export Readiness Training and Services. He can be reached at www.export-ready.com.