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Spanning the Globe The Internet provides worldwide access to your Web site, but are you ready to trek into foreign territory?

By Melissa Campanelli

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When BackWoods Grocery Inc. opened its Internet storefront for business in July 1999, its order form clearly stated that it didn't accept international orders. But that warning didn't stop an English-speaking customer in Switzerland from placing an order for $71 in merchandise, eight percent higher than the company's average sale.

The online outdoor specialty retailer and distributor, which sells more than 400 kinds of food and cookware for outdoor enthusiasts, was quickly thrust into the world of international e-commerce. "We panicked at first, but then we realized it was hard to turn it down," says Lisa Beckham, 31, president of the Atlanta company which she founded with her husband, Paul Beckham, 31, and brother, Curtis Bishop, 26.

The trio originally thought the process of shipping products overseas-especially food products-would be too complicated because of tariffs, duties, customs and other issues. The order from Switzerland was about to change their minds.

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