It looks as if the recession is here. We had plenty of warning over the past several months. Remember those job layoff announcements in “other” areas. It was creeping up on all of us. We American's don't respond well to attrition. Although we have just experienced the longest peace time economic growth in our nation's history, economists are mixed in their growth predictions as we enter this new decade. It is estimated that in 1990 alone that 650,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in the United States. Many of our small‐to‐medium‐sized companies, the backbone of our nation's economy, have been reluctant to recognize the urgent need to get involved in overseas partnerships for new market expansion opportunities in todays' borderless, global economy. It is imperative that we, as a nation, employ our Yankee Trader spirit and ingenuity to participate in this growing market to preserve and create new quality jobs in America. The three most frequent reasons given by small business for this reluctance to enter foreign markets are: (1) we're not selling in California yet, why should we look at export; (2) it's just too complicated to learn at this stage of our corporate development; and (3) if we export, how will we get paid? Let's examine each of these briefly. Firstly, you probably have more competitors in domestic markets than you would have in overseas trade. Domestic market penetration in new areas can be tough. In international, you may more easily find a “niche” and a willing partner to assist you in market share development. Secondly, learning about global trade isn't an option anymore. Years ago, domestic business was thought of as the meal and exports, if any, were considered the gravy. In today's real world of global competition, exports are essential to a company's sustained growth making understanding a must! Thirdly, you can get paid. There are numerous resources for assistance with financial questions such as international departments in major banks, trade merchant or finance banks, government loan guarantee programs, factoring groups, private consultants, and freight forwarders. The key with getting paid is to do it right the first time. This means getting help (in writing) before a problem exists. For example, if you are doing business with letters of credit, get your paying bank to assist you with its' preparation in their own comfortable language.
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