In order for a company to create jobs via exporting, the primary goal of the NEI, a company must make exporting a fundamental part of their business operation, and proactively and aggressively pursue sales in foreign markets. Reactive exporting, and one-off/occasional shipments do not create jobs. One of the risks that our organization currently faces is failing to provide the business community with the type of counseling,
In order for a company to create jobs via exporting, the primary goal of the NEI, a company must make exporting a fundamental part of their business operation, and proactively and aggressively pursue sales in foreign markets. Reactive exporting, and one-off/occasional shipments do not create jobs. One of the risks that our organization currently faces is failing to provide the business community with the type of counseling, support and services that they need to accomplish this goal.
When we talk to SME’s, and ask them why they aren’t expanding into other markets, it’s not because they can’t get the answer to a specific question (licensing, for example), it’s because they don’t know how to create an export operation within their organization. They recognize that proactive pursuit of international sales and exporting demands creation and modification of various business functions throughout their company, but they lack the expertise to do so. Consequently, due to the extremely high risks associated with ‘doing it wrong’, they opt not to pursue it, and simply react to the occasional inquiry. What they need is counseling and services, specific to their business operation, that enable them to make exporting a fundamental part of their company, and a permanent aspect of their strategic goals. The consultative approach currently used by ODO coupled with the counseling and services provided by OIO drive towards this goal, and our organization should focus more of our human resources on client counseling to expand the number of companies we’re able to meaningfully assist.
The Commercial Service’s resources are well suited to fulfill this role. Over eighty percent of our Trade Specialists are NASBITE Certified Global Business Professionals, and have the education and experience to work with our clients to enhance and/or create the business processes necessary for a successful international operation, identify/evaluate/engage partners overseas, and become the job creating, proactive exporters we need. Of course, everyone recognizes that we have limited resources. Our organization’s problem is common – growth in demand is accelerating, while our scalability is stagnant. A private sector company would simply hire more resources, justified (and paid for) by the increased revenue. We don’t have that luxury, so in my opinion, we should redirect our resources, to the greatest extent possible, towards client counseling and services. To do so, we can further leverage technology to expand people’s ability to obtain answers to general questions on their own. In Atlanta, we created the Exporter’s Resource Database (ERD - http://www.buyusa.gov/georgia/exporterdatabase.html), a consolidated resource of trade information, both universal as well as locally specific. It has been enormously helpful in alleviating Trade Specialist’s time, so they can focus on the main goal of creating successful exporters. Export.gov is a treasure trove of information, and is constantly growing; another example of a fantastic, electronic resource.
The fact is, answers to the ‘general’ questions can all be found on the web. If we create mechanisms that consolidate that information (like the ERD), thus facilitating people’s ability to find their own answers to the general questions, we can focus more of our human capital on specific client counseling in the field. This is where our organization really contributes to the goals laid out in the NEI.
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