Since 1988, the International Trade Center (ITC) has helped small and medium-sized Texas companies explore and develop export business activities in world markets. A specialty program of the Texas Gulf Coast SBDC Network, ITC provides free or low cost seminars on international topics presented by experts in specific fields such as export financing and letters of credit. Special networking events allow clients from the Network's 32-county service area to leverage our strong relationships with international businesses and Consulate Generals in the Houston area.
Before you make the decision to "go international" make certain that there is a market for your product or service. State and federal trade development agencies publish trade statistics and country market reports that can help you learn more and make informed decisions.
If you are serious about succeeding in the market, it is strongly recommended that you translate your marketing materials into the language of the prospective buyer. You'll also want to convert all measurements from the U.S. system of measurement to the metric system, which is used by virtually every other country of the world.
Having someone within your company who is capable of speaking in the language of the culture in which you are doing business demonstrates commitment to the market. While it's true that much international business is conducted in English, to be truly successful you must respect your partners' culture. If necessary, hire a translator/interpreter.
A top concern of most new exporters is where to get help at both pre- and post-export financing stages of the export process. Pre-export financing is the financing required of the exporter which covers the period from building the product to shipping. Post-export financing refers to the financing that spans the period from shipment through receipt of payment from the overseas buyer. Government sources of export financing are: SBA Export Working Capital Program and Ex-Im Bank Working Capital Guarantee.