EXPANSION

Growing BusinessEXPANSION

Taking Your Business Global - How to Begin

QUICK SUMMARY

For virtually any growing business, global trading opportunities can help you open up brand new markets for your goods and services, expand your market share, and increase your revenues and profits.

For example, you can export your goods and services to other countries, import materials to lower your costs, or even set up partnerships that allow you to buy raw materials at a much lower cost in one country and then sell them in other foreign markets. When going global, the only limit is your imagination.

Whether looking for major exporting and importing opportunities or simply selling your services overseas, international trade makes more sense than ever in a world where communication barriers are rapidly disappearing.

And although the global trade can be a complex process with legal and contract issues that may be unfamiliar, there are plenty of resources available to help you understand the nuances and to help you get started.

Trade Agreements

One first step in exploring exporting and importing opportunities is to determine which countries offer the most straightforward process for setting up contracts and avoiding complex tariff rules.

Most of the time, these opportunities include doing business with countries where the United States has existing international trade agreements in place. These agreements often give small- and medium-size businesses a competitive edge because they offer more attractive options for companies just getting started on a “going global” strategy.

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International Contracts

Once you’ve done your research and identified potential international trading partners, you’ll need to set up a contract to protect your interests. One common issue with doing business in foreign countries is overcoming potential language and cultural barriers. These can lead to misunderstandings about exactly what is being bought or sold and what the payment terms will be.

But whether you’re buying or selling goods and services overseas, a properly written contract, and perhaps a letter of credit, gives you more assurance that you can minimize the risk of doing business with companies that may be thousands of miles away.

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UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods

Something to keep in mind as you’re researching exporting and importing opportunities is the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG). This UN treaty was set up to help avoid trading disputes by establishing a uniform set of standards for international trade.

A total of 80 countries participate in this treaty, including the United States. CISG-based contracts are not required, but it’s helpful to understand how these standards can benefit you as you explore your importing or exporting options.

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Resolving International Disputes

Whether trading internationally or domestically, disputes often arise between buyers and sellers. The best way to handle disputes is to do your best to prevent them in the first place—but you can’t always avoid disagreements about goods and services or payment terms.

Yes, it can be extremely frustrating to handle international disputes with trading partners from different cultures. But you may be able to resolve these issues without involving third parties. If necessary, however, your bank may be of help (if you’ve used a letter of credit), or you can consult an attorney with experience in resolving international disputes.

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