Jean publishes a blog called the Enterprise Corner. It features articles on entrepreneurship, local industry trends, manufacturing news and periodic ‘toolbox’ articles showcasing assistance, incentives and other resources for local businesses.
The Yakima County Development Association recently hosted an great seminar on developing international markets. Our instructor, Jim Foley, was fantastic. Is it easy to see why some of my peers call Jim Foley one of the best export trainers in the country. He is passionate about helping small business grow and one of the most experienced export coaches around. The day long course acquainted participants with general trade development lessons but it also provided a backdrop where companies could develop or refine their export strategy during the workshop.
Foley said it makes tremendous sense to look at international markets today. Ninety five percent of the world's consumers now live outside the United States. Our American lifestyle and brand are also extremely popular internationally. Exporting is not for every business, but the firms who can sustain international markets are typically stronger than their domestic counterparts.
Our class went through exercises on how to pick target countries and international partners. The biggest takeaway from the class - pick your countries and partners carefully. This seems relatively simple but Jim told the class several horror stories about how businesses went into the wrong market or teamed up with unscrupulous agents.
The class finished the day learning about logistics and financing. Foley recommended getting to know freight forwarders. These professionals know how to ship your products and do all the necessary paperwork.