Global Update

What's the Secret to Increased Profit for 99% of U.S. Businesses? Exporting

The U.S. government estimates that less than 1% of U.S. small businesses currently export, even though there’s huge demand for high-quality, American-made products. SEMA members as a group appear to fare better as a percentage of those that engage in exporting, yet many SEMA-member products are finding their way into overseas markets, often through their U.S.-based warehouse distributors or in response to ad hoc requests from overseas customers and in the absence of a deliberate policy on how to maximize their bottom line through a deliberate effort.

“My guess would be that about 75% of SEMA-member manufacturers’ products wind up overseas somehow,” said Wade Kawasaki, president of Exports International. “I think a very small portion — perhaps 20% — have an integrated strategic plan on how that is done and how to expand or structure upon what they have.”

Given that exporting is an important but underutilized tool to help U.S. companies better weather the current prolonged economic downturn, the U.S. government recently announced a new initiative to assist firms. On March 11, 2010, President Obama signed Executive Order 12870, the National Export Initiative. It includes an increase in the budget of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration in order to expand the number of trade experts available to serve as advocates for U.S. companies. The initiative includes a number of goals, including increasing the number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) exporting to more than one market by over 50% and increasing the presence of U.S. SMEs in emerging markets such as Brazil, China and India

For more information about how to jumpstart your export success, contact Linda Spencer via e-mail at She can help you capitalize on the SEMA Show programs aimed at bringing together exhibitors and international buyers as well as obtain distributor lists, information on overseas trade shows and relevant laws, regulations and tariffs.