Volume 35, Number 11, November 2000



Making the List

The top nine reasons why you should be exporting

by Rene Bergero

Everyone seems to have a top ten list these days. They cover all manners of topics. Some are meant to be humorous, others studious and a few simply frivolous. Since I do not write for the Late Show, nine was about the maximum number of reasons that came to mind for my list of why companies should be exporting. Nonetheless, nine reasons are more than sufficient and can prove valuable.

Once you’ve armed yourself with a starter kit of exporting know-how, you can begin to wade into deeper waters. If you work in a vacuum, read no further, but my guess is that you don’t. Depending on your particular circumstances, exports may be a small component of your company’s overall sales picture. This can be either a positive or a negative factor. On the negative side, survival in most corporate environments requires that you skillfully justify your existence, or at the very least, your job title.

On the positive side of the ledger, the sales contribution made by exports can arguably have a lower cost of sale, so those sales dollars should have a deeper impact on the bottom line. These finer points may be lost on your friends, coworkers or supervisors. What you need are some sure-fire reasons that can justify your exploits and, if need be, help you out of a jam or impress those who need impressing. So here are my favorite reasons to export, in no particular order, along with some pointers on when and where to use them.

9.    International trade is a really cool topic of conversation at parties.
It sure beats talking about how much business you do in Cleveland.

8.    If someone wants to know what a Lempira is, you probably know the answer.
In case you don’t know, the Lempira is the monetary unit of Honduras. You can also use your knowledge of foreign exchange rates to determine when your products are over- or under-priced.

7.   It’s a great excuse to start collecting stamps.
Stamps also make nifty gifts to colleagues who always seem to pester you about how you never bring anything good back from your international trips.

6.   Your boss may never understand what you’re talking about.
Be careful with this one. It helps to keep discussions focused on topics such as the impact of per capita gross national product on equity market

5.    You get to meet and interact with very interesting people.
One of my favorite customers has a coffee plantation, and since I love coffee, this is a real bonus.

4.    You’ll find a market for mature products and technologies.
This one can be tricky, and certainly does not apply to computers or communications equipment. Keep in mind that labor rates are usually much lower overseas. Use this fact to help you figure out which products may work out.

3.    You can put pins on a map in your office.
Use this to impress upon all those who visit with your tentacle-like coverage of world markets. If you’re thin on locations, put a pin on any location from which you have received a letter or fax.

2.    Differentiate your company among its peers.
Describing your firm as a global enterprise certainly sounds impressive. Play it up!

And the number one reason to export:
1.    It’s an excellent vehicle for finding alternative vendors and products.
Exporting is one side of the international trade coin; importing is the other. Some of our best customers are also our suppliers.

The further you venture into the area of exporting, the more likely you are to come up with more reasons of your own. Who knows, maybe you’ll even make the Late Show!


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