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Thinking about taking your product overseas? Our Shoestring Start-Up Expert gives you a few tips about exporting on a budget.
May 1, 2000

Q: I've found a source for a product I think would sell well overseas. How can I begin exporting it? I don't have a lot of money to invest.

A: In today's global economy, even the smallest business can do deals with companies around the world. Exporting can mean big profits to a small business. However, it's important not to rush to go global. For all the opportunities exporting provides, it can also present as many challenges. Too often entrepreneurs fail to understand the ins and outs of doing business on foreign soil-and they learn the hard way. Fortunately, there are a lot of free, low-cost resources and programs available to help you work your way abroad. Here are a few:

New-to-export firms may also qualify to enroll in the six-month Market Entry program, which provides training, consultation and support. Eighteen centers nationwide offer the program on a rotating basis. For more information on the program qualifications, call the U.S. Export Assistance Centers at (800) USA-TRADE.

The cost for both types of training programs can range from free or a nominal fee, to a few hundred dollars.

Kimberly Stansell is an author, entrepreneur and businesswoman in Los Angeles. She has a knack for turning her desires into reality with little or no money and helps others do the same in her book Bootstrapper's Success Secrets: 151 Tactics for Building Your Business on a Shoestring Budget (Career Press). For more business-building tips and resources, visit her Web site,

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, not of All answers are intended to be general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areas or circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consulting an appropriate expert, such as an attorney or accountant.