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businessman going global

Whether you are a fan of “ObamaCare” or not, you have to give the president a lot of credit, as this was no small undertaking and required an extraordinary amount of vision. Not to mention the fact that President Obama went into this venture knowing full well that there would be a fair amount of naysaying, an inordinate amount of work, a dramatic shift from the way things have “always” been done, and a general risk to his approval rating. And yet he pursued it anyway.

So, just what does that have to do with your small business and exporting? Well, like Obama, pushing yourself to do the things that others have told you are too difficult or nearly impossible is probably part of the reason you are even reading this article — you are an entrepreneur and you are not bound by ordinary limits. And, like Obama, you too have charged through the difficult times, overcome the self-doubt and negativity, and found that often the challenges have provided you with the very things that made you the success you are today.

Because not only did the president set out to change the face of American healthcare, he’s gone and done the same thing with U.S. exports. That’s right, President Obama put into place an executive order back in 2010 instructing the federal government to put its efforts and resources into assisting U.S. business in expanding into overseas markets. Why? Because President Obama would like to double U.S. exports by the year 2015. Talk about vision.

“Now, wait a minute,” you may be saying, “I don’t manufacture anything, so why on earth do I care about exporting?” I’m glad you asked. Because here’s the thing, if you’re a U.S.-based business of any kind, you can take advantage of this effort and benefit from a vast array of services, many of which are free of charge, to help you assess, grow, and streamline your business.

Let’s say, for example, you are a consultant or therapist of some kind (and don’t they sometimes feel like exactly the same thing?). Let’s say you’d like to do some research into foreign markets that utilize a similar type of consulting and once you’ve found this overseas demographic, you might like to see about translating your website, blogging in another language, or even penning a book filled with your theories and advice — and gear it all towards a new market overseas. “Impossible!” you say? Not so fast — from your local Small Business Association to countless government agencies and offices, to your local college and workforce investment organizations, there are more and more ways to access the advice and resources you need to take YOUR small business into a global market.

Still not convinced? Here’s something else to think about; global emerging middle class markets will create over 1 billion (that’s right, with a “B”) new consumers within the next 10 years. Over 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States. Of all the businesses exporting goods and services overseas, small business accounts for nearly 26 percent of that number. Exciting, right?

As 2014 gets underway, I’m excited by the new opportunities my career is offering me. I get to take my business consulting and add a global component. I’ll be working with businesses and organizations, students and entrepreneurs, looking for ways to explore global commerce, increase opportunities, and create new economic benefits. I hope you’ll join me this year and share your journey with me — Democrat or Republican, the world can be a pretty exciting place!

Source for statistics: export.gov/basicguide/eg_main_017244.asp

About Leah Goold-Haws

Leah Goold-Haws is currently the Deputy Sector Navigator for Global Trade & Logistics, in Far North California as part of the Doing What Matters Initiative. This initiative, of the California Community Colleges Chancellor's office is part of a state-wide effort for jobs and the economy. Leah is part of the CITD (Centers for International Trade Development) network and consults with businesses involved in global trade, promotes international business courses on behalf of the community college system, assists small business in developing global entry strategies, and increases exposure to global trade and logistics opportunities throughout the region. You can find out more about this initiative at http://doingwhatmatters.cccco.edu. Connect with Leah at http://www.exportnorcal.com or on LinkedIn.