From the January 2006 issue of Entrepreneur

Small exporters benefit when the dollar is weak since it makes their goods significantly cheaper and more competitive abroad. So how can you take advantage of a falling dollar? Contact the U.S. Commercial Service for low-cost export assistance, says Mary Joyce, network director of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Midwest Export Assistance Centers. "They can help you through the entire export process, including finding qualified buyers."

The U.S. Commercial Service's major thrust is to help small businesses crack overseas markets and gain ground on exports priced in dollars against a broad range of currencies. "It's not a question of whether you should go global; it's a question of when. Now is a very favorable time," says Joyce.

Given the euro's current rate, American products can be a bargain. "High-quality products are always in demand, but the weak dollar has increased international demand for our products," says Andy LaPointe, global marketing director for Traverse Bay Farms/Fruit Advantage, a Bellaire, Michigan, gourmet fruit company. The weak dollar helps offset international shipping costs, LaPointe adds, making U.S. products even more competitive.

Although a sliding dollar can open doors to new business, it's no panacea for companies that should be running lean operations, no matter where the dollar is.

Laurel Delaney runs GlobeTrade.com and LaurelDelaney.com, Chicago-based firms that specialize in international entrepreneurship.