It isn't easy, and there are a number of pitfalls.
But the growth potential in export markets is so big that it is vital for manufacturers to do business with the rest of the world.
That was the message that Janet Bauermeister, director and senior trade specialist for the U.S. Department of Commerce, delivered Wednesday during AWB's 2012 Manufacturing Summit in Seattle.U.S. Commercial Service office in Spokane, made the case for exports by providing some remarkable statistics, such as:
- The middle class in India is expected to grow 10-fold by 2025. Other hot markets include Brazil, Columbia, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam.
- Exports jumped by more than 11 percent in 2010 -- the first year of the recovery. This represented the fastest growth rate since 1997. (Source: Business Insider.)
- In Washington state, exports contributed to nearly half of the state's new jobs over the past 30 years.
Getting into exporting requires a fair amount of work, Bauermeister said. It includes finding the right market, developing the market and going to the market, often by attending trade shows.
"A lot like what you do in the U.S.," Bauermeister said.
The role of Bauermeister's office is to work with Washington businesses to help them identify potential markets and successfully export their products.
It's a good time to be doing that work, Bauermeister said.
Thanks to the National Export Initiative, which is working to reach the Obama administration's goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years, export assistance has received more attention than it typically does.
In fact, it used to be something of an afterthought.
"Now, export promotion is the focus," she said.
Business owners who would like to explore exporting can find resources on the website export.gov. The U.S. Commercial Service has international trade specialists in 100 U.S. cities and 83 U.S. embassies and consulates throughout the world.