Whether you are taking your first step toward exporting or looking to grow your international sales, Export Missouri can provide support at every turn.

This section contains the Online Trade Counselor that will help to identify information you need to know and how to access resources to help you succeed.

Explore Exporting

If your firm has never exported before, or only sporadically has shipped items overseas, then let’s begin by answering the following questions:

Should you be exporting?

Successful exporters fit a particular profile and are committed to the export process. Equally important to commitment is taking a realistic approach to evaluating current capabilities. Planning and preparation are the keys to success. Answering yes to the following is critical to success: Has your business been in operation for over three years? Is your company profitable in the US? Is your management prepared for the initial costs of exporting? Is your product or service in demand?

Are you ready to export?

There are several ways to assess your export potential. You can take the following 10 question survey, take more extensive evaluations like the one available at https://new.export.gov/export-readiness-assessment/login or have one of our Trade Managers further appraise your current capabilities. If you answer no to any of the following questions, you may not be adequately prepared to export.

  1. Does your company have a product or service that has been successfully sold in the domestic market?
  2. Does your company have or is your company preparing an international marketing plan with defined goals and strategies?
  3. Does your company have sufficient production capacity that can be committed to the export market?
  4. Does your company have the financial resources to actively support the marketing of your products in the targeted overseas markets?
  5. Is your company's management committed to developing export markets and willing and able to dedicate staff, time and resources to the process?
  6. Is your company committed to providing the same level of service given to your domestic customers?
  7. Does your company have adequate knowledge in modifying product packaging and ingredients to meet foreign import regulations and cultural preferences?
  8. Does your company have adequate knowledge in shipping its product overseas, such as identifying and selecting international freight forwarders and freight costing?
  9. Does your company have adequate knowledge of export payment mechanisms, such as developing and negotiating letters of credit?
  10. Has your company been operating profitably for the last three years?

Are you committed to exporting?

Commitment, commitment, commitment! Without it, your export plan is doomed to fail.

Senior management must be committed at every level and must make resources available for the duration. Initial costs may be steep and outside expertise may be required in order to embark on this new business objective.

Exporting efforts must be properly capitalized. International marketing, travel, shipping and translation costs can be significant, your company’s website may require a complete revision, and you will need staff training and possibly additional employees.

Exporting rarely provides a profit in the short term. Often, the cycle can take 2-3 years before a return is realized. Selling abroad for your company may mean developing relationships with customers and partners that speak different languages, have unfamiliar customs and widely diverse business practices. It will take time to foster these relationships in order to bear fruit.

Are your goods in demand?

What is your current market share in the US? Is your company a leader in the industry?

If your goods are in demand in the US, then most likely, they will be in demand internationally. This position can mean that exporting is a must. Additionally, exporting can help to diversify your company’s portfolio and help your firm weather economic setbacks domestically or help to even out cyclical or seasonal sales periods. Your goods may need to be adapted for sale internationally and should always be protected by patents or trademarks.