Growing your business internationally – part 4

This is the 4th and last part of the series on “How YOU Can Grow Your Business Internationally”.  In this segment you will learn of a few great sources of information and advice that can help you get your new international business up and running quickly.

Sources of help

As promised at the beginning of this series of articles, the following is a list of several sources of information and advice that can help you open new markets outside the U.S.  There are many other sources but these will get you started in great fashion.

Government agencies (domestic and foreign):  Government staff in trade and commerce departments and from specific trade sectors such as energy, agriculture, tourism, etc. are a good source of advice and assistance.  Note that one of the primary goals of embassies is to support trade relations.

Arizona Commerce Authority is a quasi-public state organization whose main objective is to provide services to Arizona exporters in different areas such as basic counseling, trade missions, valuable contacts, background information, statistics on trade, and market research.

Legal counsel (domestic and foreign):   Legal counsel with international experience and contacts can be an invaluable source of assistance, particularly in formulating the necessary strategy for business negotiations, to be certain that critical elements are not overlooked or left for the final, most difficult stages of negotiations.  Legal counsel may also have a network of business contacts that can be of use in the context of a specific business transaction.

Financial and related institutions such as banks, credit reporting agencies, etc.:  Payment is the most important element of any successful business transaction.  Banking institutions and related firms, such as international credit reporting agencies, may be able to provide the information that will permit financing and thus ensure that a business transaction can be consummated.

Trade associations (industry or region specific):  An industry may have specific customs or practices that apply in a specific region or country.  Trade associations, through the experience of their many members, are likely to have encountered many of these issues, and may be able to assist you in avoiding them.

AZIGG:  The Arizona International Growth Group offers a great way to get connected with people in the know about international trade for Arizona companies.  Their website is www.azigg.com.

Chambers of Commerce:  The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) is recognized as among the most active in the world, with affiliate operations in business capitals around the world.  There are also a number of other Chambers of Commerce that assist and encourage business and that can be useful sources of information.

Consultants who specialize in international trade have experience that can help you get your export program up and running quickly.  They are drawn from backgrounds such as CFOs with international experience, former government officials, accountants, attorneys, etc.

Publications & Internet resources:  Do-it-yourself research at the library or on the Web is a good way to help you get information quickly although it may also be the most time-consuming.

About the Author

Mr. Casebere is a partner with the firm B2B CFO®, a national association of highly skilled Chief Financial Officers who provide part-time assistance to small and mid-market companies.  Mr. Casebere has over 30 years of experience as a finance executive helping companies with international operations achieve their goals.  He is an expert in the field of credit risk management and in helping companies find cash, improve profitability and maximize value.    He holds an MBA and is a Certified International Credit Professional.   You can contact him at:  dcasebere@b2bcfo.com

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