Take your business global!

Many of South Carolina’s smaller businesses are so busy running day-to-day operations that they don’t consider exporting. But scores of small companies have products and services with international market potential. Taking a business global means great opportunity for growth and a decreased dependence on a sagging domestic market.

Often owners of small companies have no idea how to proceed with pursuing exporting. That is where the SC Small Business Development Centers can help. SC SBDC business consultants assist with all the planning and details necessary to make exporting a reality and a big part of a company’s growth.

Exporting is good for a company’s bottom line. According to the International Trade Administration, there are many reasons to consider exporting.

-Improvements in trade finance, the Internet and trade agreements have dramatically increased access to markets worldwide.
-More than 70 percent of the world’s purchasing power is located outside of the United States. Now is the time for U.S. companies to get their international market share.

-Exporting can be profitable for any size business. On average, sales grow faster, more jobs are created and employees earn more in companies that export.
-The United States has a worldwide reputation for high quality, innovative goods and services, excellent customer service and sound business practices.
-Companies that export have diversified risk making it easier to ride out fluctuations in the U.S. economy.

According to South Carolina Department of Export Services, our state has solid exporting strengths.

-In 2010, South Carolina’s exports to 192 countries topped $20.3 billion, up 23% from 2009 and a greater increase than the national average.
-Canada was the state’s top destination with exports valued at almost $3.2 billion. Germany ranked second followed by China, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, Kuwait, India, Japan, Belgium and France.
-Of the top 20 markets in 2010, the top growth market was Kuwait with a 3,127% increase over 2009, followed by China at 149% and then South Korea, Hong Kong and Brazil.
-South Carolina’s top export category was transportation equipment with a value of $5.7 billion, followed by machinery at $3.5 billion, chemicals at $3 billion, plastic and rubber products at $2 billion and paper products at $1.2 billion.
-In 2009*, export-supported jobs linked to manufacturing accounted for an estimated 7.7% of South Carolina’s total private-sector employment, the third highest share among the states. An estimated 28.7% of all manufacturing employees in South Carolina depend on exports for their jobs, the third highest share in the United States and well above the national average of 20%. (*Most recent data from the U.S. Department of Commerce)

SC SBDC business consultants are specially trained to assist small business owners in the transition into international market. SC SBDC export specialists can help:

-Provide financial analysis such as costing, pricing, budgeting and forecasting.
-Identify appropriate financing options and preparation of loan applications.
-Create a marketing plan that examines target market potential, competition, distribution channels, licenses, insurance, taxes, government contracting opportunities, political climate and business friendliness of countries.
-Set standards for global business management.
-Provide networking opportunities and help entrepreneurs connect with the people and resources that will promote success.

According to the SBA, small businesses have generated the majority of net new jobs in the U.S. over the past decade. Helping companies grow by selling internationally is important to our economy and a primary objective the SC SBDC. Make an appointment with a SC SBDC export specialist today.

Links to useful export information:

SC Department of Commerce Export Services
Export.gov/Helping companies export

SBA/Export business planner
International Trade Administration
NASBITE global trade organization

Export Information - Data.gov
USA Trade Online/U.S. merchandise trade data
USC Student Thesis: Evaluation Risk of Small Business Expansion into Latin America

Statewide Export Consultants


Ben Smith
Clemson Area SBDC
Clemson University
407 Sirrine Hall
Clemson, SC 29634-1392


Tom Lauria
North Charleston SBDC
6296 Rivers Ave. Suite 300
North Charleston 29406


Beth Smith

1225 Laurel Street
Columbia, SC 29208