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A w*rld'cf optr*rtuniry awaits b*$ircs** rs,'-

' " s*eki$ se1l or,scurac pr.o cls'o*ers*a*.

60 sLtccFSS jrii.ii 2010




Second, the Internet has exponentialiy increased the ease of working

with international customers and suppliers. "Technology erases boundaries

,presrclent ot Glotlelrade, a management consultlng and marketlng solutions

1:i The first step toward global trade is doing your
trong push to boost i':. homework. Fortunately, there are dozens of
exporting, particularly by smal1 to midsized businesses, by providing more t.1 resources available to help you. Below are some
resources and expertise, and making financing more available.
There's never been a better time to go global, says Delaney: "You have
. ofthe best.

"o -l Alibabd,C0lTl-search for products, manufacturers,

,,:r wholesalers 0r buyers' sources by country, region
STEPS TO SELLING a:,: 0r category.
Want to sel1 your products internationally? The first step is determining
the right market. Delaney suggests these Web sites as good resources: :} BUyUSA.gOv-rnis u.S. commerciat service web
BuyUSA gov, and the Internarional Trade r:..: site has information for both importers and exporters.
Administration's These sites have information and reports specific ,;,: Find U.S. Export Assistance Center 0r U.S. Commercial
to markets and industries, prepared by experts and available lor free irf Service locations near you, as well as country-
she says.
Look for a country that nor only has high demand for your product, but
is also easy to work with. English-speaking countries, such as the U.K., fl Export,g0v-The U.S. government's export portat
Ireland, New Zealand and Australia, are easy to do business with in terms of
-:), brings together resources from all the government
language, shipping and paymenr. Delaney says.
..; agencies that deal with exporting. You can find market
One way to keep things simple-F6f.-Amg online. For Couch, global =,,,1 research, trade leads, financing information and more.
e-commerce happened naturally, as international consumers discovered the r:,* Federation of lnternational Trade
site. "If you have something that is truly [unique]," says Perkins, "having a
ii Associations (FlTA,org)-Find internarionar
Web site flauens the globe."
Good search-engine optimization is essential for anyone seiling online.
il:: import/export trade leads and events, as well as links
.r.'ri to 8,000 international trade-related Web sites.

"IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING THAT IS il e tonatsources.colJl-source products ontine 0r

TRUTY [UN|OUE], HAVTNG A WEB :.: find trade shows, events and industry-specific reports.

SITE FTATTENS THE GLOBE." ,1* G lobeTrade, co m-rn is company helps

"SEO is like the new Yellow Pages," Perkins says. "lfyou can get listed high in market, export, im s0urce
search results, you're in the world's phone book." res0urces,
Once your site is optlmized for search engines, "market, market, market
via every lmaginable platform-blogs, Facebook, YouTube, Twitrer and
Linkedln," Delaney says. "Keep a conversation going worldwide on what's so
gt.rt ubor.,t
;iil nternational Trade Adm in istration

meisaraGgy- wofledloiCouch. The company's Web sire, blog and e-mail a! (Tfade.gOV)-Find a tocat tTA office, counseting,
newsletters emphasize that the products are made tn the United States and
.::i trade missions and events, research and more.

highlight well-known musicians who have purchased the straps-inciuding rISBA's 0ffice of lnternational Trade
Beck, The White Stripes and Keith Urban. Perkins believes authenriciry (s utsba/sba0 ro0 ram s/
ba. q ov/abo
and personal relationships wtth customers are essential, so Couch sends ihte rnlationaltrade/i ndei. trtin t;-e't
personalized responses to orders and includes handwritten thank-you notes information about programs t0 help you import, export
in every package. As satlsfied customers blog about the products (and the or finance global trade.
customer service), word has spread worldwide.
While Couch lets internatlonal e-commerce grow organically, you can r,tTrade Show News Network (
also target your strategy. "If you know you want to se1l in Brazil, lor example, ,i Find vendors and trade shows worldwide.
then make that clear on your site Brazil opportunities, clich here-and
hopefully have that page translated in Porruguese," Delaney says. 'A sma11, 'n;:qi:::i11-.:Ij!!.i1:€#,i:::-I!,;]F:i.13-Hi..-E;.+ i;tll++#1i11-tr.;j.1*.F-:i


Globol Guilorist
Don Perkins exponded his vegon guitor
strop business from his goroge to o globol
morketploce using the lnternet.

recognizable icon, such as a country's flag, helps enormously for visitors

in determining where business gets conducted."
You've made the sale; now how do you ship? If you're shlpping a
big order to a distributor, you may want to hire a broker or freight
lorwarder to handle shipping and customs lssues. If you're selling direct
to customers, like Couch does, FedEx, UPS or the U.S. Postal Service
(USPS) are options. Because Couch wan[s to keep cuslomer costs low,
Perkins uses USPS plus Endicia postal software ( "Even if
you're starting small, if you want to do it we1l, set up that type of program
to ship," Perkins recommends. "You'll be that much more organized and
efficient, and won't spend time standing in llne at the post office ."
Whether seliing directly to consumers or to distributors, how do you
ensure you'll get paid? For smaller transaclions (under $5,000), Delaney
t:gg.ryuym€nt methods such as PayPal larger transa@
.'ffierences, .For
trade associations and your bank's internatlonal trade deparr
ment to assess a new distributor's reputation. "Use the resources backed
by our tax dollars, such as the U.S. consulate or U.S. embassy in that
60untry," Delaney adv ises.
Comilunicatron is key, she adds: "You h4ve to f,nd oul how much
'i ybu can'trtXst eacil other and what you dan er$ect,of each party." Once
you're comfortable with the distributor, you may be able to ask for partial
payment before you ship the product, or even get a down paymenl to
finance making the product.
Sales to distributors are not high-priority for
Couch, whose business model is to ellminate
> 5 BIGGESI DO'S AND Dr,N'TS the middleman. But when dlstributors in Tokyo,
Austria and Germany found the company, Perkins
When Doing Business Overseos built relationships gradually: 'Just like in the
United States. we start someone out with a sma1l
1. 00 keep it simple. Start in English-speaking countries with a
order and see how it goes."
legitimate banking system and established transportation methods and
Today, Couch guitar straps are sold direct
regulations. "You want to import, export and manage payment without
) major hassle," says global expert Laurel Delaney.
to consumers worldwide and in approximately
/ 70 stores in the United States and overseas; the
2. 00il'f overlook communication. trust and understanding company has also launched a line of vegan camera

h are crucial to the success 0f any international business relationship.
"[0ngoing] miscommunication and misunderstandings should be a red
flag," Delaney says.
straps, belts and wallets.

Looking to source products overseas? The
3. D0 have a unique product. Whether importing 0r exporting, Federation of International Trade Associations

h "someone in another country will undercut you 0n price," warns small-
business owner Dan Perkins, "so make sure you have a product that
( rs a good place to begin your search.
You can also get help from your state's Commerce
doesn't exist anywhere else." Department, the U. S. Commercial Service Products
and Services ( and's Gold
4. D0il'Ttry to go it alone. From free resources provided by
Key Matching Service (export.govAalesandmar-
) the government t0 freight forwarders, brokers and consultants such as
keting/eg_main-018195. asp).
GlobeTrade, there are myriad sources t0 assist you. Attending an international trade show is a smart
way to get started. At trade shows, you'll find
5. D0 be cautious. "Anything that comes out 0f nowhere and l00ks
products, manufacturers and brokers to help you
like you can earn fast money is probably a scam," !9]gleylryqns,--'lf it
with the complexitles of international sourcing.
s0unds too good to be true, it probably is."
Adam Rizza took the trade-show route when


he began seeking overseas sunglasses suppliers. He and his brother,
Wa11y, began retailing sunglasses at kiosks in 1995; by 1999, their
Irvine, Callf., company had 25 locations. But the product available Culturcl lssues to Wotch Out For
in the United States "wasn't cool enough," he recalls. Rizza attended
a trade show in Hong Kong, found brokers, and the brothers began Doing business overseas requires sensitivity to cultural
importing. differences. "As in anything new, you must take time to
Sourcing overseas revolutionrzed the Rizzas' buslness model. understand and learn to respect people, however different they
Today, their business is primarily wholesale. Sunscape Eyewear may be," says global expert Laurel Delaney. Her tips:
Inc. (of whrch Adam is president and CEO), imports and distributes
+ Fallow your foreign csiltacts' lead. "Pay attention to how
sunglasses, readers and optrcals to 1,500 boutiques and 32 major
[they] do things, and try to model that behavior," she says.
retailers worldwide. Their retail business, Rizza & Associates (of
which Wa11y is president and CEO), has four southern California r ASk a lot af qiiestions. "This not only helps you understand
kiosks they use as testing grounds to see what products sell. how they do things, but conveys that you sincerely care,"
"There are all these myths about [overseas] factories," Adam says. Delaney says.
"That's why we went with brokers at first-you pay a litt1e bit more,
but they manage it lor you and guarantee you'11 get rhe product." + Get an introdUCtion. tne lnternational Trade Association's
By 2000, however, the Rizzas were ready to start dealing direct. trade missions are a great way t0 learn about a new country;
"Through the brokers, we lound factories and slowly began commu- organizers not only arrange lodging and appointments for you, but
nicating with them," Adan-r says. also explain cultural do's and don'ts.
While some preliminary communication can be done vla e-mail
and phone, when sourcing overseas, Adam cautions, "That face-to, + For women only: Women still face extra challenges in many
face meeting is priceless. Anybody can te1l you they have a milllon- countries. Depending on the region, Delaney says, you may need
square-foot factory and send you someone else's pictures-and, to put a male employee in charge oltourlniEineftnat business.
unfortunately, a lot of people do that."
+ D0 y0ur homework, using all the resources available to learn
Meeting in person is essential to assessing a company's trustwor-
what is expected. Two books Delaney recommends: Gestures: The
thiness. "You don't go to China and spend a day at rhe facrory; you
spend a couple weeks," Adam says. "You're living with them, seeing
Do's and Taboos of Body La@ound the Wortd,by Roger E.
Axtell, and Leading with Cultural lntelligence: The New Secret to
therr day-to-day operations and understanding what rhey're about.
Success, by David Livermore.
When you meet the rlght people, you'l1 feel that comfort zone." Of
course, you should also do your due diirgence, just as you would typically need to be doing a large volume of business or getring a
with an overseas distributor. product you can't get anywhere else. Adam Rizza, for example, uses
Asyou get quotes Chinese factories to produce his own eyewear designs more cheaply
lrom potential than he could in the United States.
suppliers, assess Also analyze the demand for the product locally and know how
the bottom line. you plan to sell it. "Have an axis of drstribution before you buy
"Bringlng some- anything," Adam Rizza warns. "You don't want to get stuck with
thing from overseas products-that's how companies go belly-up."
isve ry expensit'e To manage the logistics of importing, including shipping, payment
transportation- and cusloms, most businesses hire a lreight forwarder. "Look for
wrse," Delaney one that is well-versed in the region where you're doing business,"
says. "wffi Delaney says. Depending on the scale of your importlng, she says.
you trying to .rt
accomplish Iby ng at first,
importingl? Is the but if you do your homework, take advantage of rhe many resources
net result going to avallable and start small, it can spur your business to heights you
be a cost savings?" never irnagined.
For importrng to "It's like getting the first olive out of the.lar, and then the rest just
be worthwhile, you tu
Eye on Exponsion market or nrst customer, you'll want lo do more of the same." 5
The Rizzo brolhers
5 revolutionized lheir Ricv* l-rscrrsft.f is pre sirJnri ctnc{ f owtle r af Grolt'llit },fedic , a tailt{t1t {l'rt!
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