Entrepreneur Resources: How to Get Started in Export Trade

Below is a guest post from Brabble CEO Patrick Mackaronis. Pat can be reached best on Twitter at @patty__mack.

The differences between the differential value of exports to imports for a country is termed its balance of trade or trade deficit or trade surplus. Countries generally want to bring in more income from its exports than it spends on its imports, hence favoring the trade surplus.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the U.S.’s international trade deficit in goods and services increased to $46.3 billion in August from $42.6 billion in July. U.S. imports have increased more than exports for a number of years. Is there anything good in this for the U.S.-based entrepreneur?

Federal and state agencies have increased U.S. export trade initiatives that generally mean increased assistance and cost savings for entrepreneurs. For instance, the Obama administration’s National Export Initiative executive order was signed in 2010 and aims to support polices that can double U.S. exports in five years. Trade firms who seek to grow their export sales will benefit from these types of incentives that encourage U.S. export trade.

Below are a number of additional resources for new U.S. export traders to consider.

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC)

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), also called the Commerce Department, is a federal agency that operates 47 district offices throughout the country. The DOC provides significant counsel to U.S. exporters, aiding and assisting entrepreneurs in making import and export trade deals happen. Their website at DOC.gov offers a number of resources, including government market reports for business men, economist and legal counsel performing due diligence in assisting in international trade transactions.

International Trade Administration (ITA)

The ITA is part of the DOC, but focuses on U.S. exports. Contact the ITA for economic and commercial information related to international export trade to a specific country. This agency coordinates and draws upon market research from other national and international agencies, such as the reports of the World Bank .

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA)

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, or NASDA, is an association of U.S. state departments charged with promoting the safety and trade viability of U.S. agricultural industry products. Contact NASDA to find out about resources available to agricultural exporters on the state level in your state of business operations.

Regional U.S. Trade Organizations

There are also a number of regional business association that provide support to specific industries involved in export trade. For instance, the Pacific Lumber Exporters Association is but one of many trade organizations that publish vital market research information and networking opportunities for its members specific industry.

Government and Industry Association Help with Your Export Business

Export trade offers many advantages to U.S. businesses. It is also a terrain with rules and parties a domestic firm will be unfamiliar with without calling upon expert resources. Of central importance to new firms in export trade is to be aware of the political, economic and regulatory terrain of a potential export market to avoid costly mistakes and misunderstandings. Take advantage of the free resources provided from governmental agencies and the low cost help often available through industry associations.

Successful Entrepreneurs Ask ‘What’s Next?’

The most powerful word for any entrepreneur is “next.” Yes, to be successful, “stick-to-it-ness,” as they say, is important, but knowing when it’s time to stop is better. What really makes you an entrepreneur with a capital “E,” is growing a business, letting go of what’s going good, and starting new things. Anything else is just owning a business. Kyle Uchitel and Aleksandr Vasser, co-founders of Phoenix-based business Avky Inc, weigh in with four habits of successful entrepreneurs.

You Can Be Entrepreneurial Even If You Don’t Own a Company

Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you’ve got to build and run a bunch of different companies. It can happen in the company you’re operating right now, whether you own any of it or not. We’ve all seen at least one employment ad that asks for self-starters and entrepreneurial thinking. But what they’re really looking for are innovators; people who add value by creating new ways to do things that save or make money.

Entrepreneurial Thinkers Find New Ways To Save or Make Money

One company that stands out is redballinternet.com. They got started after two freshly graduated computer programmers showed up at a consulting gig without some much needed documents. With no Internet connection they started wondering how they could wirelessly and securely access files at their office from anywhere. The next thing you know they’re negotiating with Kyrocera to license their iBurst technology, one of the world’s most robust secure wireless network systems.

But wait. Can’t you already do this in Wi-Fi zones? Well, not exactly. First, Wi-Fi is not secure, and you’ve got to be within 300 feet of one of its access points for it to work. iBurst gives you encrypted high-speed Internet access anywhere within 8 miles of one of their towers.

Successful Entrepreneurs Know When Things Aren’t Working And Change

At first they went into business installing towers in small communities with no hi-speed Internet connections, only to find out it wasn’t a financially sustaining model. There just wasn’t enough business volume in rural areas to make it worthwhile. So what did they do? They just stopped. Rather than holding on, they stopped and asked those all-important questions: “what else?” “What’s next?”

Instead they started to focus their attention on how they could apply their technology, instead of how they could sell it. Like software applications that allow you to securely use your credit card in a cab, or if you’re a lawyer, get that 50MB confidential file you forgot while sitting in court. Sorry, you’re BlackBerry just can’t do that. They’re even working on an application that will wirelessly communicate power usage – no more meter readers lurking around our backyards and basements.

Entrepreneurs That Get It Right Know When To Move On And Start Again

When it comes to entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurial thinking, Red Ball’s got it right so far, I think. Especially when it comes to engaging their customers and getting them to dream about all the things they could do with their technology. But they wouldn’t have gotten there if they didn’t know when to stop, give up, move on and start again in a different way.

Avky Inc can be best reached on Twitter at @avkyinc.