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Tap into Little-Known Government Resources and Go Global

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


The U.S. government’s commerce role has a longstanding history that dates back to the founding fathers and the Constitution. Even back in Colonial times, people understood that the government needs some power over businesses to regulate commerce. Over time, the government’s role has adapted to our changing society and expanded to protect consumers, workers and the environment. And out of necessity, the government has also put several protections and services in place to assist small businesses — many of which go undiscovered by the people who need them the most.

Let’s take a look at a few little-known government resources for business owners who plan to expand their commerce reach by exporting products or businesses. These resources might provide the missing tools you need to go global successfully.

The U.S. Commercial Service

The U.S. Commercial Service (CS) is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. It provides business owners with the information and expertise they need to navigate the process of international trade. The CS has more than 100 U.S. offices nationwide and offices in more than 70 international locations.

Exporting can be a tricky venture, and small business owners need someone on their side, helping them get their products to international markets without paying too much in fees and without violating any national or international laws. The following are just a few of the exporting services the U.S. Commercial Service can offer. 

Gold Key Service

The Gold Key Service assists U.S. companies by providing the exposure and outreach they need in foreign markets. The best way to explain their service is to say they are a matchmaker that connects U.S. companies with up to five interested partners in a foreign market.  

This matchmaking service has many functions to make it an essential component for U.S. companies venturing into foreign markets. First, the Commercial Service Specialist initiates calls with interested foreign market companies. This specialist then presents the seeking company with potential candidates based on their requirements and needs.  

Once the seeking company has a minimum of 4-5 recommended businesses, the Commercial Service Specialist sets up meetings with all candidates on the same day. Usually, the gold key is a hands-on approach completed in person with high-level people, and the Commercial Service Specialist is present. The result — solid connections in foreign markets where your brand can grow.

Related: How to Go Global With Your Business

Special American Business Internship Training

The Special American Business Internship Training Program (SABIT) was created to promote economic growth and trade opportunities. SABIT achieves this mission by building and assisting partnerships between U.S. and foreign companies. In turn, these partnerships have the power to make small businesses competitive in the world market.

For example, The SABIT program builds partnerships and provides technical assistance by training business leaders from Eurasia and South Asia’s emerging markets. When versed in U.S. business practices, these regions can support their economic and civil society development. This goal is accomplished by encouraging market-based reforms while generating valuable export and investment opportunities for U.S. industry.

Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee

The TPCC has approximately 20 agencies; however, a group of seven forms the entity’s core. These agencies work in different ways to ensure the current export production plan works effectively for business owners.

Trade zones explained

Understanding the different trade zones can be confusing. However, knowing this information is crucial to businesses that want to export their products to foreign markets. The CS demystifies this information by helping business owners understand the designated U.S. trade locations, effectively use them, and apply to have a new area designated.

Office of International Trade

The Office of International Trade works to encourage and support small businesses that are entertaining the idea of exporting their wares. Even though this agency is the chief lifeline of assistance for developing small business international trade, many small business owners fail to utilize its services. 

The Office of International Trade’s primary function is to direct and coordinate the SBA’s ongoing export initiatives to encourage more small businesses to go global. They have 21 U.S. Export Assistance Centers, SBA district offices, and a variety of service-provider partners in their arsenal, all with the mission to help any small business that wants to expand its reach by exporting. 

Export-Import Bank of America

The EXIM is a full-service business banking institution specializing in financially backing and supporting American businesses that want to go global. Their tag line explains their straightforward mission: Helping the World Buy American. 

Of course, the EXIM has financial experts who can offer advice; however, the EXIM provides so much more. For example, they produce a free Basic Guide to Exporting book filled with information and valuable resources. The following is a brief overview of just a few of the other services the EXIM offers.

Multi-buyer credit insurance 

This insurance policy can reduce an exporter’s risk by protecting their accounts receivable and has a host of other significant benefits. Having a multi-buyer insurance policy gives businesses the confidence they need to enter new markets, increase sales in existing ones, and forge a path with margins they can depend on. Companies can also increase their global presence by offering open account credit terms needed to compete in a diverse world market. EXIM can even help small business exporters overcome cash flow problems by borrowing against their insured receivables.

Related: 3 Things Entrepreneurs Should Know Before Expanding Globally

Working capital 

Cash flow has been and always will be an issue for most small businesses. The EXIM can not only empower exporters to unlock working capital to fulfill sales orders, but it can also allow them to take on new business abroad. As a small business exporter, you can generally borrow more with EXIM support. The extra cash flow provided can also secure performance and bid bonds necessary to win projects and boost global competitiveness. These loans can pay for materials, equipment, supplies, labor, and other essential items needed to complete export orders. The additional funds can also purchase finished products for export or serve as bid bonds, performance bonds, or payment guarantees.

Working capital loan guarantee 

EXIM knows that working capital is also an issue for foreign buyers who want to purchase American goods. Therefore, the EXIM working capital loan guarantee can assist U.S. companies by guaranteeing financing to creditworthy foreign buyers and providing payment to U.S. companies at the time of shipment. This guaranteed payment gives U.S.-based companies more confidence to compete for sales in worldwide markets they might not have entertained before. The EXIM loan guarantee can also offer private and public sectors competitive term financing otherwise unavailable. 

In closing

Growing your small business in a challenging environment might be a struggle, but it is possible. One way to achieve this goal is by expanding into foreign markets. No doubt entering the exporting realm can exponentially increase profits if you have the tools and resources necessary for success. 

If you like the idea of exporting your products, the tips above provide a decent start. However, there is much to learn about exporting and many valuable government resources to help.

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The 11 Sectors Of The Stock Market & Their Biggest ETFs

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This story originally appeared on StockMarket

What Are ETFs & Why Should Investors Consider Them?

The stock market is often divided into 11 major sectors representing key areas of the economy. Within each sector, there are a number of different publicly traded stocks that operate in the same broad area. If you’re an investor and want to diversify your portfolio expansively, you’ll then need to own companies across the market. 

In light of that, it’s helpful to know the market categorization for each sector. For instance, if you want to have exposure in specific areas of the economy, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) may be a good place to start. But first, what exactly is an ETF? An ETF is a basket of securities, shares of which are sold on the stock exchange. It has become incredibly popular for both active and passive investors alike. 

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the 11 sector classifications in the order from largest to smallest. In brief, we will see what each sector is about and a few of the largest ETFs that can be used to gain exposure to that particular industry. 

1. Technology

The technology sector consists of businesses revolving around the manufacturing of electronics, software developers, or products and services that are related to information technology. In general, these businesses are driven by upgrade cycles and the general health of the economy, although growth has been robust over the years. To point out, the technology sector is often considered one of the most attractive places to find growth in the stock market.

2. Health Care

An investment in health care is exciting. When you invest in the health care sector, you’re actually investing in a broad range of industries. That’s because the sector consists of biotechnology companies, hospital management firms, medical device manufacturers, and many others. In general, the sector is considered to be both a growth opportunity and defensive play since people will require medical aid in both good and bad times. Since it’s the second-largest industry, it’s nearly impossible to have a diversified portfolio without any health care stocks or ETFs in it.

[Read More] Hot Stocks To Buy Now? 5 Cyclical Stocks To Watch

3. Financials

The financial sector is made up of firms and institutions that provide financial services to both corporate and individual customers. This sector consists of banks, investment funds, and insurance companies, among others. By and large, the majority of the revenue generated by the sector comes from mortgages and loans. Thus, such revenue increases as interest rates rise. The overall health of the economy depends on the strength of its financial sector. In view of the economy rebounding, it may not be a bad idea to have some exposure to some of the financial ETFs below.

4. Real Estate

The real estate sector consists of companies invested in residential, industrial, and retail real estate. Accordingly, the main source of revenue for these companies comes from rent income and real estate capital appreciation. As the economy continues to rebound, there would undoubtedly be opportunities in the real estate sector. Investors love the sector because of its ability to generate healthy dividends along with capital appreciation.

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5. Energy

The energy sector is a category of companies in the business related to the production and supply of energy. The energy sector consists of oil and gas exploration and production companies, as well as integrated power firms, refineries, and other operations. In general, these companies generate revenue that’s tied to the price of crude oil, natural gas, and other commodities. But with the U.S. making combating climate change one of its top priorities, clean energy ETFs have also gained the attention of investors. 

6. Materials 

The materials sector consists of mining, refining, chemical, forestry, and related companies that are focused on discovering and developing raw materials. Since these companies are at the beginning of the supply chain, it’s natural that their activities tend to move along with the economic cycles. Hence, if you think that the economic recovery is well underway, it doesn’t hurt to have some exposure to this cyclical area of the economy.

[Read More] 5 Tech Stocks To Watch In June 2021

7. Consumer Discretionary 

Consumer discretionary is a term to describe goods and services that are deemed non-essential by consumers. To list, this sector consists of retailers, apparel companies, media companies, consumer durables, and consumer service providers. These companies usually benefit from consumers that have extra disposable income to spend, and they may therefore receive a boost with an improving economy.

8. Industrials

The industrials sector consists of construction, machinery, fabrication, manufacturing, defense, and aerospace companies. This industry’s growth is driven by demand for building construction and manufactured products such as agricultural equipment. As a result, the performance of these companies in the industrial sector often moves along with the economic cycles. 

[Read More] Best Cheap Stocks To Buy Now? 4 Consumer Discretionary Stocks In Focus

9. Utilities

The utility sector consists of electric, gas, and water companies as well as integrated providers. In general, many investors treat utilities as long-term holdings and invest in the sector to generate a steady income for their portfolios. It is arguably the most defensive play you can find in the stock market when there is an economic downturn.

10. Consumer Staples

The consumer staples sector consists of food and beverage companies as well as companies that create products consumers deemed essential for everyday use. In general, these companies are defensive plays and are able to maintain stable growth regardless of the broader state of the economy.

11. Telecommunication  

The telecommunication services sector features cable companies, internet service providers, wireless providers, satellite companies, and many more. Consumers are generally providing recurring revenue for these companies, but some subsets of the industry face rapid change. Investing in individual telecom stocks may present higher volatility, but the telecom sector overall has exhibited reasonable long-term growth.

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Michael Jordan Donates $1 Million to Morehouse College Journalism and Sports Program

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NBA legend Michael Jordan announced a $1 million donation to enhance journalism and sports-related studies at Morehouse College.

In the past, the billionaire was criticized for his lack of activism in the Black community. But now he’s stepping up to the plate and changing the narrative for Black students. Jordan’s contributions will support scholarship, technology, and educational programming initiatives for students attending the Atlanta-based HBCU.

“Education is crucial for understanding the Black experience today,” said Michael Jordan in a Morehouse news release. “We want to help people understand the truth of our past, and help tell the stories that will shape our future.”

Jordan Supports the Mission of Morehouse College

In 2014, Jordan became the first billionaire NBA player in history. He’s putting his fortune to work through initiatives that support the Black Community Commitment. In 2020, Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand committed to providing more social, economic, and educational justice in the Black Community. The donation to Morehouse College is one way that Jordan hopes to expand opportunities for Black men.

“Morehouse is grateful to Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand for an investment in the education of talented men of color who will ensure there is equity, balance, and truth in the way sports stories are framed and the way the Black experience is contextualized within American history,” said Monique Dozier, vice president for institutional advancement at Morehouse.

Founded in 1867, Morehouse is the only private historically Black college or university dedicated to the enrichment of Black men. The school has been at the forefront of addressing a lack of Black leadership in athletics and sports journalism. Spike Lee, a 1979 Morehouse graduated, launched the Journalism and Sports Program. His goal was to open doors for more Black men in media. Now, the program has graduated over 600 students who are transforming the narrative.

“There’s going to be a rich legacy of storytellers who will be supported by these programs,” Spike Lee shared in a news release. “Many people are influenced to think a certain way about Black folks based on what they see on television and in Hollywood. We’ve got to tell our story.”


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3 Ways to Harness your Nervous Energy to Perform Better

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Struggles with stress and anxiety can be frustrating, but have you ever considered anxiety to be a positive thing? 

In her book, Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of Your Anxiety, clinical psychologist Dr. Chloe Carmichael argues that anxiety is actually a positive that can be used to your advantage. Through simple techniques that make you more aware of your emotions, you can become in control of your anxiety and begin to optimize your mental health for more success. I wanted to share with you three ways you can begin to harness your nervous energy to have a happier and more successful career and life. 

As high-achieving individuals, anxiety might seem like something to be ashamed about or to hide, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The first step to using that anxiety for more success is to acknowledge and embrace it. As Dr. Chloe says, anxiety is actually a healthy function of our brains! Your mind is stimulating preparatory behaviors for what we know will be a stressful event. Once you are able to harness these preparatory impulses effectively, you will find that your anxiety is a plus that will encourage and aid you in your success.


  1. Meditation and Mindfulness

Once you’ve begun to recognize and acknowledge your anxiety, meditation and mindfulness can help you begin to understand it more deeply. Understanding it equips you to soothe your emotions, tackle the stressor, or do whatever needs to be done in order to address the anxiety. By practicing mindfulness and meditation, we are able to listen deeply to our anxiety and what actions it’s calling us to do. Dr. Chloe teaches mindfulness and a few different simple breathing techniques in her book that will help you stay grounded.

Naming your emotions sounds simple, but it might be more difficult than you think. One technique Dr. Chloe suggests is to list out your to-do list for the day, and label each task with the emotion you feel. Knowing what your emotional state will be during each activity can help you prepare effectively for the event, and is a great way to channel those anxious feelings into tangible actions. 

As busy entrepreneurs with fast paced lives, we may be prone to only see how our anxiety and stress holds us back– and overlook the secret of how it can actually propel us forward. I challenge you to see anxiety as a potential superpower that, when harnessed correctly, can drive you to do bigger and better things than ever before. 

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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