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#120 | Resources for Exporters – No Need to Go it Alone!

Laurent Kahl is an International Export/Import Consultant at the University of Georgia (UGA) Small Business Development Center (SBDC). He brings years of experience as an export manager, export consultant, and international sales expert to this episode, delving into the abundant US state and federal resources available to anyone looking to conduct business across borders.

These free resources exist because the US imports much more than it exports, so the balance of trade is perpetually off balance; by supporting companies that export, the state and Federal government help to mitigate the imbalance for a healthier economy.

Once business owners realize that exporting companies perform better, it can be difficult to figure out where to start. Every state has an SBDC, under the jurisdiction of the Small Business Administration (SBA). In turn, SBDCs support US Export Assistance Centers (USEACs) that help companies:

  • Access capital
  • Develop and exchange new technologies
  • Improve business planning, strategy, and operations
  • Attain financial and human resource stability
  • Initiate global marketing and sales, including translation and other language services

The agency focuses on areas required for small business growth and expansion, management improvement, increased productivity, and innovation. In addition, USEACs will often maintain an international office to better connect small businesses with in-country distributors, partners, and service providers.

Tune in to the full episode to access even more free resources to get you started on the path to international sales!

Read the Episode Transcript

ATTENTION: Below is a machine-generated transcription of the podcast. Yes, here at Rapport International we talk a lot about how machine translation lacks quality. Here you see an example of what a machine can do in your own language. This transcription is provided as a gist and to give time indicators to find a topic of interest.


Wendy: Welcome listeners to another episode of the Global Marketing Show. Today's episode is going to be a really good one. If you've ever thought about exporting or you're exporting now and you need some help, there are a ton of resources that are out there. So we're going to have a very lively, good conversation about that.

Before we get into that though, I want to remind you the global marketing show is brought to you by [00:01:00] Rapport International and they connect you to anyone around the world by providing high quality language services. And today's tidbit is about the Czech language. There's a word that has no equivalent in English and it's something we've all done.

The word is prozvonit. I hope I'm saying it right. If you speak Czech, let me know. And what that means is to call someone's mobile phone from your own, and then the person doesn't answer, so you can leave your phone number in there and add them to your contacts. Prozvonit is a much easier way to say it than explaining it, so I love that.

Well, okay, let's get to resources. We just gave you a word resource. Today, we're going to talk to Laurent Kahl. He has extensive private sector experience in the international export import trade field and four decades working for both private and semi government [00:02:00] entities. He now works for UGA's, the University of Georgia's SBDC International Trade Center. But before that, he was a self employed consultant for Global Footprints. So, welcome, Laurent. I'm so happy

Laurent: to have you here. Yeah, thank you so much, Wendy. I appreciate the opportunity and glad to revisit you again since our last couple, two or three years ago, I think it was.


Wendy: That's when you were working on your own. And since then, you've gone to the UGA's SBDC. Why don't we start with those initials? Can you, can you tell me what that

Laurent: means? It's good to mention, you know, because there's so many acronyms in international trade, but SBDC is Small Business Development Center.

And we have A domestic unit that helps with small and midsize Georgia companies with various business functions, whether it's, you know, [00:03:00] financing, human resources, business planning, QuickBooks, franchising, business acquisitions, accounting, et cetera. But on the international side, we also have a SPD International Trade Center here in Georgia.

We have four business consultants that help with Georgia small, mid sized businesses with their import export activities. That could be, you know, again, similar to the domestic side international financing, international market research international logistics, international duties and taxes documentation.

Uh, your ecosystems selection of, uh, service providers, naturally translation services like Rapport International, keep that in mind for, for translation and, um, and, you know, Thank you. Smell brokers, freight forwarders ocean carriers air carriers, et cetera, and, and international sales, marketing, and other things involved with the import export arena.

Yeah. And you help people find

Wendy: brokers too, if they wanna do that in the market, right?

Laurent: Yes. Yeah. [00:04:00] Freight forwarders, customized brokers. That's correct, yeah. And we also find partners overseas with the help, not only our resources, but with the help of our usec, which is our US Export Assistance Center partners you know, because we will talk about those as well.

But, uh, we use their resources as well as they, as they, they, you know, we. Combine both, both our resources to help these Georgia exporters grow overseas.

Wendy: Yeah, I was at a, um, networking event last night. I E R C, international Executive Resource Group, I E R G, I'm sorry. And somebody was asking for distributors in market and so that, so brokers, partners, distributors, that would all be something you could help with.

Okay. So that's the S B D C in in the International Trade Office. And then you mentioned the U Z X U S E A C. Right? Right.

Laurent: That's a U. S. Yeah, that's again, uh, acronym for U. S. Export Assistance Centers. These are our [00:05:00] partners that we work very closely together and you'll find this in every state in Georgia or in the U.

  1. Give me in every state in the U. S. so the state of South Carolina does it. Similar with us or Florida or any, any other state in the country. There's 5 different resources in the USEAC, the Department of Commerce. This is a great resource as a federal resource. They have many embassies overseas that have consular commercial attaches that help us.

Again, we work together to find new distributors, learn about the current conditions of the market for their business. Competitor intelligence currency, uh, information the do's and don'ts of doing business overseas in that country. A lot of things that they can help with. And we also can help with the Georgia Department, economic development here in Georgia.

We have the, the state resources and they have 12 offices overseas, which we can use staff by their people. Or, you know, they're Georgian staffed [00:06:00] people, folks that can also help in these countries to find distributors, reps, business partners, do some research on current conditions of the of your industry.

And other things that, uh, that they can provide. The Ex Im Bank is another export import bank of the United States. They provide trade insurance for foreign receivables. So, if you don't get paid, they can help with 90 percent of the. Of paying your, you know, invoice should you have a buyer that doesn't pay, but that's, that's helpful.

And also they provide credit, export credit opportunities as well. The Small Business Administration is another resource that also provides export credit and, and they have different programs for, for exporters, Georgia exporters. And the last 1 is a Georgia district export council, which is a an organization of current to active executives that are involved with shipping, you know, it could [00:07:00] be with large exporters or shipping companies or insurance companies, just a group of

+, trained highly skilled export executives that can help also companies with additional advice and counsel. So we have all these resources available in addition to our international, uh, consulting team, which we have here at the University of Georgia, which are 4 of us that that are highly skilled, highly, highly educated, and, and, uh, highly experienced.

Wendy: Resources to help exporters. Can you talk about how these were all developed and why they're

Laurent: developed? Well, it's just that, you know, the exporting mechanics is is something that you need to learn about it. You know, it's a little more complex than selling domestically, right? All you do is put something in a box here when you sell domestically and it's shipped and you invoice a customer and it's, it's a pretty easy, not as complex as selling a product from this from US to another [00:08:00] country, because you have more hands that deal with it.

The product and there's documentation involved. There's also the banking transactions. It's just a lot more complexity. So these, these resources were developed to you know, to help the, the, the new and active exporters in the state with, you know, not only they're like the, the, from starting from zero, but also the, you know, the more complex problems that exporters have with say , duty problems overseas and trying to, get better advocacy work.

That they could do to help you get a better entry into that market because of a duty or some kind of a barrier that might exist in that market. But , all these , the, the banking XM and small business administration is to help with some of the finance part of the financing part of it and.

And then ourselves, the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Department of Commerce is more on the market entry and marketing and digital [00:09:00] marketing and just all the basic export mechanics that you might, uh, operations type of things that you may come across.


Wendy: a lot of these are government agencies, and I don't think about going to a government agency and paying to get services. Usually they're provided. What are the kind of costs that an exporter might incur in Georgia for this?

Laurent: Well, for us, we're cost free. But there's some programs for like Department of Commerce that, that you have to pay there's, they have gold key.

There's some other things that they do that you have to pay for. The Georgia, department of Economic Development, all their work is no cost because of the, the. the U. S., the Georgia companies are paying taxes which pays for their, their services and, and our services as well.

But there are, things that you have to pay for and there's some export grants, for example, with the Georgia Department of Economic Development that you could apply for to help Pay some, uh, some of your marketing costs or translation costs or just different things that you can apply [00:10:00] towards when you're selling overseas.

So I

Wendy: had heard that the governments provide these services because our balance of trade is so far off. Like, we import so much more that we want to export more. That's why the government has set up all these. Can you speak to

Laurent: that? Yeah, well, that's that's true. We import 2 3rds of our balance of trade is import versus 1 3rd export, but it's growing.

Our export is growing. Naturally. That's the key is to promote more U. S. exports because the bottom line is going to create new more jobs, new products you know, stronger companies here in Georgia or in the U. S. And there's a lot of benefits of creating more export sales. Yeah, so

Wendy: it sounds like if you're, you're, you run a business and you're in Georgia, you're in luck.

So what about all the other states? Can you talk about, you know, I'm sure you don't know it [00:11:00] as much as you, you know, Georgia, because that's where you work, but do they all have those different

Laurent: opportunities? Yes, good question. For example, in the Southeast in Florida, they have in the University of West Florida, they offer they have an international trade SBDC.

So similar to us. And they also, you know, naturally they have their state offices and another does the same thing as BA. Helps you know, with the same kind of functions in that state. In add, you know, same thing with South Carolina. There's a, international Trade Center in the University of South Carolina.

And Columbia, South Carolina, the capital. And also in Birmingham, Alabama, you know, just the, the University of Alabama in Birmingham, I think it is. I'm not sure if it's Birmingham, but it's in the University of Alabama. They have a ITC as well. So all these you know, most of these states have similar resources.

Yes, that's correct. But there are some states that operate a little bit differently. The SPDCs are not associated with the university. They might, you know, they might do has a different type of [00:12:00] setup or function.

Wendy: Yes, I'm based in Massachusetts and in Massachusetts, we have the SBDC, but we also have the mass export, which is more, it's closer.

It's more closely tied to the Department of Commerce and you can go in and get the services, but it's, it's, it's somewhat tied with the SBDC, but it's, it's operated separately and it's not based. The SPDCs are at the university, but the, but mass export isn't. And I think that's the same with New Hampshire and Maine, but Rhode Island is at Bryant University.

Oh, okay. And then in Texas it's actually in the Department of Agriculture,

Laurent: the trade. Oh, okay. Yeah, so

Wendy: I think bottom line is is that we're talking about is that no matter where you're exporting from in the United States, there is a state resource that can help you. Where should somebody

Laurent: start? Well, I think, [00:13:00] you know, they're, they're all very competent and I think, you know, try all the, all of them, but I, you know, you could start with the S B D C or the the, the state of the federal is, is you know, also very useful. But I think, uh, those, those are good ways to start particularly you know, being a small, very small business, if you have a very small business, small business development center where the S B A could be, A good starting point.

If your business is medium size or larger size, then you, you know, you could go directly to some of the federal and also the, the state as well. but you know, for smaller startup, not startup, but more the smaller new newly created a couple years in business S B D C or S B A I think would be a good start.

And also score for startups. But, you know, that, that's another, another thing that, um, They could look at, which is the

Wendy: root. The retired people that are advising through the SB, SBA,

Laurent: correct? Right.

Wendy: So it sounds like finding your state export center the UCX or the best way. And we'll put, [00:14:00] we'll put a link to that in the, the show notes.

So if anybody wants to reach out, no matter what state you're in, you'll be able to find it. But if you're in Georgia, you definitely want to reach out to Laurent because he's, he's the go to person there.

earlier you mentioned in the Department of Commerce, there's embassies and consulates. So if I'm an exporter and I'm looking for support, do I go to an embassy or consulate? And what's the difference? Okay.

Laurent: Well, the normally the commercial part of it where the commercial attache is, is in an embassy overseas, but when you start the process with the Department of Commerce here in the US, they will make the connection with you with that embassy, the, the, the commercial attache in that country, in the embassy of that country for the the consulate is more for visas and travel and those kind of things for the, you know, for the business purpose traveling and documents and things of that nature.

Unless, you know, some other things that I don't know, Wendy, is anything else that you wanna address on those two? [00:15:00] No, I just

Wendy: thought it was always very interesting about, you know, you hear embassy and consulate. So thanks for the, the explanation. And I know that, you know, they all have the commercial attache and they're very willing to help because I've reached out to them before and they're very

Laurent: knowledgeable.

Yeah, it's always good to go through the US 1st, your contact in that state. In your state, and then they'll contact the commercial attache in the embassy of that country that you're wanting to enter or learn about. Right? Yes.

Wendy: I wanted to do some research on a company that I was going to partner with, and they were able to do some research and get back to me and let me know if there were any.

you know, danger things I should watch out for. Luckily, I got a clear report. They couldn't find anything on the company, so I assume that was a clear report and it's gone well since. So all right. So you prior to [00:16:00] going to Georgia, You were an independent con, you know, an independent consultant to help people with export and import.

If I'm an exporter, how do I decide when to work with the state, the DOC, the Ex Im Bank, or whether I go to a private consultant?

Laurent: Well, naturally, you want to use all the free resources first, the cost free resources, such as the, you know, the USEAC partners that we talked about, but naturally, when you use a private consultant, you have to pay for their, you know, by the hour, by the project sometimes you know, the private consultant has very special death tolls.

For free highly specialized information or knowledge about a particular product or industry or country. So sometimes you may want to consider using the private versus the cost free services of a USEAC partner. It just depends, I think. but it's good. I think it's good to get a, you know, you can always get an opinion from, [00:17:00] from various, the various sources and learn from all of them too as well.

So, actually, sometimes you, pay for what you get, right? Sometimes you can get some really good advice from private consultants. So. I did the, I did it for 4 years, but coming here now to the University of Georgia, I've never learned how many, how much many more resources are out there, particularly if, for example, in a university with our library, we have so many databases that we can use to to research, not only domestic get domestic data, but also international data and we also have interns that we can, introduce to companies to help them with projects throughout the year, and we can also use professors and associate professors to do research on, you know, the latest and greatest type of project that company may have. Oh, that's fantastic.

Wendy: Those are things I never even thought about with the UCX or the state trade or state export centers, but that's right.

If you're at a university, you'd naturally have all that. And then I've [00:18:00] heard about internship programs where the state will actually pay if the intern goes to work at the company because they get experience.

Laurent: Okay. I didn't know about that, but we, you know, we have intern programs where the company would have to pay, you know, depending on whether it's an undergraduate or graduates doing a certain amount, you know, a certain amount of whether it's by the hour or by the project, but normally those are paid programs.

And so, but we do offer that with all our colleges, you know, everything from engineering to, to you know, agriculture, et cetera. Oh, okay.

Wendy: That's good to know. So then that's probably it varies by state because it was one state in particular. I can't, it was either Kansas or Iowa. I think that had the program.

So, you know, if anybody's really interested, you know, you're based in one of those in Kansas, Iowa. It wasn't Nebraska. You know, give me a call and I'll figure out what it was. What about I've heard [00:19:00] of other programs like getting Getting to Global and Softland Partners and these other organizations.

Can you talk about those?

Laurent: Yeah, well, I'm a member of Softland Partners, so I can talk about that, but that's a great also a great resource for companies that are particularly for companies overseas that are want to penetrate the U. S. or, or even U. S. companies that want to go to Europe or other parts of the world, but it helps with, you know, planning the, the, the market entry into that country. There's there's some great resources and a lot of folks from all over the world that they could also provide guidance and, and, and naturally some are consultants and some are specialists that you may have to pay for. But yeah, Wendy, I think you're also a member of Softland Partners, correct?

Yeah. Yeah,

Wendy: I am. And that's 1 thing that I've seen from there is even if you start with the state, but you're still looking for deeper knowledge [00:20:00] or connections, work with the providers, because, you know, you're part of Southland Partners. I am. I know there's freight people, there's currency exchange, there's consultants, there's you know, PEOs, and so if I want to get knowledge about something, I can go to them, or I can post on the Slack channel for.

For help that I want. So is that your experience?

Laurent: Yeah, I, you know, I've helped some of my clients also with SLP, some of the SLP folks connected with them, whether it's foreign exchange or specialties that I'm, you know, that I know about, but I'm not an expert on it. So, yeah, correct. Right. And, and we do make, when we make recommendations to our clients, whether they're custom house brokers or foreign exchange traders or lawyers, or CPAs, we have to give at least three to five companies to, for them to, to, to talk to and select and make a decision on.

Wendy: It's real important for you to be out there [00:21:00] meeting the vendors to know who you can refer. Yeah. Yeah. That's good. Where do people go if they want more general information about how to start exporting?

Laurent: Again, use, you know, internet, you can look for you know, buy some books on exporting general how to, how to export or exporting.

There's a lot of good books out there. Also, you know, marketing. If you want to look for a good marketing book, this is by the author. Yours truly. So, but, you know, yeah, the Internet is a great place to, you know, to start learning about exporting. And I have a, you know, I have both electronic and hard copy versions of.

You know with my library here of import export literature but that's a good way of doing it. And then with your contacts at the Georgia Department of Commerce the U. S. Department of Commerce you know, the different folks can also provide you other additional training and information as well.

Wendy: [00:22:00] Okay. Yeah. Thanks so much for holding up my book, The Language of Global Marketing. So I did write it to give a background to people of how to, how to think about your communications. Before we started recording, you mentioned another book that you said was really good. It was the Definitive Bible to Exporting or something.

Can you, uh,

Laurent: tell us about that too? The author is Laurel Delaney. I think she, she did a really great job. The last version I had was two years ago. Let me see if I can...

I can pull it out, but this is the, the book here exporting, exporting

Wendy: the definitive guide to selling abroad profitably.

Laurent: Yeah, it's, it's quite a good, it's very, very thorough. And also the, the fellow that that created NASBite, Jim Foley who he's created the Nasby the group of, international trade folks, and this is the book he created.

This is a very good book too. You know, so global entrepreneur, taking your business international. I think there might be a 5th version. I have the

Wendy: 4th version, [00:23:00] but we'll put links to the show notes in there, Lauren, so people can find it and NASBA. That's another one that you mentioned that we haven't talked about.

Can you talk about

Laurent: that? Yeah, this, this is a group of you know, professional, global business professionals. They, they have a certification that you can, you apply for and you can, you know you have to study and test for it. And these are people from all different disciplines of business you know, very, very experienced folks.

And, you know, I, I, We, we, as a consultant here, we're, you know, we're we have to, we had to take the exam as, as part of a certification to go to, you know, to go through our training program here at University of Georgia International Trade Center. So, but yeah, and also there's a a lesser costs export training called the export you.

com. And I'm not sure what the fees going to be, but that's another certification you can do. [00:24:00] They've got about 12 video webinars on there. It took me about maybe 40 hours a week to do to go through all of them and go through all the, their tests. And, and it's another way of just kind of picking up naturally.

You know, I've been in the import export for 4 decades, but you're always learning. And I learned some. Some things in there, in addition to these books that I've, you know, that I, and the NASBITE CGBP certification that I did, uh, this last early, early December January, this year.

Wendy: What was the hardest topic?

I just have to ask.

Laurent: Well, it depends on your, what your weaknesses is for me, it was compliance because, you know, I've always been involved with marketing and sales in my, my career selling internationally. And so, you know, marketing and, and the finance was, it was, it was fairly not easy, but, you know, I, I knew quite a lot about it.

There's four or five different areas, but the compliance was one of them that I think was for me, it was the most difficult because I [00:25:00] didn't, I, we always had a department with the multinational companies. I work for that. They took care of that. You know, the, hep, hep, hep. You really didn't think about it.

You didn't know. I mean, you knew about it, but you didn't know all the ins and outs of what's important. What wasn't so I'm going to jump

Wendy: topics back to because we're talking about resources. Sometimes I hear about FDI or foreign direct investment. What could you tell us about that?

Laurent: Well, mostly the FDI is more involved with the state Georgia Department, for example, here in Georgia, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, they have a, a team that, that that's involved with foreign direct investment for companies overseas that want to invest in the, in the state of Georgia.

And also, uh, Softland Partners can help a little bit on that as another source. Now, Wendy, I don't know if you have any other ones that you could tell us about, unless, uh, are there other, other resources that you know about?

Wendy: Yeah, so FDI would be the state is investing to try to get [00:26:00] people from outside of the U.

  1. to come in. And then how about SelectUSA?

Laurent: I'm not very familiar with that, but maybe, do you know much about it? I'm sorry, I didn't. Yeah,

Wendy: it's probably, it's probably a little, I think it's the conference. You know, Softland Partners talks a lot about it, but I think it's a conference that might be more aligned with FDI where it's people coming into the United States.

So that's kind of out of your realm. Yeah. And do you, have you ever heard of Getting to

Laurent: Global? Getting to Global. Not familiar, but I'm always willing to learn.

Wendy: Yeah, Josh set it up. That's another website you can get to. Getting to global. Josh was a an attache, I think commercial attache down in Mexico, I think.

And then he recognized that exporters needed support here. You're nodding your head. I can see on the video when we're recording this. So what did.

Laurent: You know, I don't know. Yeah, Josh. No, you remind me. [00:27:00] Sorry about that. Yeah, but yeah,

Wendy: yeah. Okay. So, but you don't run across it too

Laurent: much. Well, I I've, I've attended some of the, his webinars.

They've had some eCommerce webinars for 2 or 1 for Asia, Europe, and I think Latin America. They were well done. And. And I learned some things about e commerce and some, some context in that field. So they, you know, that could be another source for, for education and also for, for looking at as a market tool.

Wendy: Okay. Okay. So there we got, we've got webinars, we've got books, we've got places you can go talk to people. We've got research. You mentioned Gold Key earlier. I wanted to come back to that. What can you tell us about the Gold Key Program?

Laurent: Well, that's a, that's a program established by the Department of Commerce U.

  1. Department of Commerce, and what it does, is they, they kind of pretty much find distributors for you or partners, whether reps or distributors or government entities, or I'm not sure, [00:28:00] whatever market channel you decide to go to with when you want to export and they'll set up meetings for you.

They'll, they'll pick you up and, and take you to the, to these potential partners and, and just kind of hold your hands and help you through the whole process. I mean, but there's a fee on there. I, I, I'm not sure what the current fee is, but it's a great program. I've never used it, but, you know, I've heard some very, very positive things about it.

And they also have some other ones. You know, there's two or three other paid type of programs that they offer. Oh, and that's

Wendy: the Department of Commerce, so reaching out to your state trade rep will certainly be able to introduce you to the right person and find out. How about STEP grants? It's another thing

Laurent: we hear a lot about.

Yeah, well, here in Georgia, it's called the Go Global Export STEP grant, and that's also, this is managed and distributed by the Georgia Department of Economic Development. This is how they do it here in Georgia. [00:29:00] So this is a, a grant that you know, new and also existing exporters can apply for this grant that could be applied towards travel you know, your flight expenses, not sure you don't want to can't travel first class, but, you know, you can you can apply towards your economy class fare you can apply towards a web, you could translation with Rapport International, or you could use, use it for literature you know, your literature marketing materials there's just a lot of different things that you can apply for towards.

Yeah, we've liked the

Wendy: SEP grants because people have gotten them and come to us for, you know, their marketing and for translation. So, I think it's a great way and then they could, you know, we make sure it's quality so they're actually attracting the business that they want. Yeah. Okay, so now we've gone through a bunch of other resources.

I can't think of any other ones offhand unless you can.

Laurent: Well, you know, like anything else, try to use all the resources you can use, not only the [00:30:00] service providers, like, you know with translation people, the, your, your freight forwarder, your ocean carrier, even the people overseas, your custom house broker the government folks overseas Department of Commerce folks just try to think about all the resources that you could use and, and, and, and obtain information, market intelligence, competitor intelligence, et cetera.


Wendy: yeah, that's really, and I'm glad you said that, because I think we talked a little bit about it, but all the providers are so connected in with each other, and they know, they'll know what they can do and what they can't. So if you're talking to somebody like me, you know, that I do translation, ask for resources, and then we'll put a link in the show notes to find your state trade rep, because that sounds like the best place to start.

All right, so now we've talked about all these resources, can you give me a... Story about an exporter that came to you in, uh, Georgia at the S B D C and said, I wanna start exporting, or [00:31:00] This is what I've done and I wanna grow.

Laurent: Sure. Well, I just got a recent client about eight months ago or so that n we can't name.

Put a name to the client, but is a manufacturer of specialty carpets. His company particularly does Southwestern type of designs on these carpets. American Indian Southwestern design, very specialty type of item or, or niche, I guess.

And came to us. We looked at some research that we did some research on what what will be the top two or three markets for him. And we, we saw that the Japanese love Americana type of products. And so through, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, which they have an office in Japan, we were able to provide him at least maybe five different resources of potential partners so they've now been through the the due diligence and they've met each other virtually and [00:32:00] all that.

They've sent, he's sent samples. So hopefully now they'll be getting some container orders and, and get that process going. So that's 1 example where we're helping this new to export carpet manufacturer in Northwest Georgia.

Wendy: Fantastic. And who'd have thought that a carpet manufacturer would be exporting?

That's what I always love about hearing the stories is it's the people who are inspired that actually do it, that benefit from higher revenues, higher profits, higher salaries, higher valuations. I mean, the DLC research just blows me away.

Laurent: Yeah, I mean, it's in Southwestern design. It's so, you know, niche. You know, and actually another market we're looking at is Canada because there's a lot of, you know, some of that American Indian influence up in the northern Canadian states up there.

So, that's another country that we're going to be helping or we. You know, we'll, we'll be helping this company out. But, you know, there's just so many things that you know, if you're, if you have a product or service that could be modified, it could be [00:33:00] exportable. Naturally, we'd have to look at it.

You know, there's potential for all kinds of things. And there's mark, there's products here that you can't sell here that are great products for overseas business, you know, so Love the story

Wendy: of Walter Brooks from Georgia makes a barbecue sauce. He's episode 81 on our podcast. He was at a food trades show and somebody from Georgia came up and said, have you ever thought about exporting?

He said, yeah, as any entrepreneur would say. And he ended up going on a couple of trips to the middle East and has signed millions of dollars of contracts for his barbecue sauce. There you go. Yeah, so the episode's a great story to hear. Walter Brooks from Brooks Maid's Gourmet. Yeah, and then the other thing that surprises me is when you hear about services being the number one export.

So even if you own a consulting company or a marketing services or a web development, [00:34:00] you know, think about going international because

Laurent: it's a huge opportunity. consulting, consulting, those kind of things. Sure. Absolutely. Software, software you know, all these new technologies, those are all services, you know, very intangible products.

Right? So naturally they have to be modified. You know, you got to put it in their language. You got to. You know, metric versus English system there's things that you have to think about, you know, to, to modify to their culture and language to their culture. And, and, and,

Wendy: you know, I'm glad you say that.

That's exactly what we do. I appreciate that. That call out. So what. Advice would you have for people regarding exporting? Yeah, I

Laurent: know that, you know, always thinking, think, think about it because it does when there's hard times here in the U. S. it can offset your slow sales here in the U.

[00:35:00] S. and it also brings in new customers. You can get new ideas for modifying your products, not only overseas, but also here, improve your product here. You'll grow your business. You'll hopefully you'll employ more people. And you'll, you'll have, you'll be a step ahead of your competitor.

Your domestic competitor may not be exporting, but you might and, and, you know, you'll be growing and also learning and having a more dynamic business. And hopefully one that will even survive not only future recessions, but here in the U. S. but, you know, also global recessions because you're, you're so diversified.

This is why the multinationals are so big because they're in every part of the world. And, you know, when one. region of the world is down, the other one's up, and it offsets their, their businesses, right? And, and it helps revenues from one, one region helps offset the other. So it just it's, that's why they're multinationals.

That's, that's why they're on the top, you know, Fortune 500s, right? Yeah,

Wendy: that's [00:36:00] really good that that the companies have the chance to grow bigger by being across, across nations. And also what's interesting is the statistics from the Department of Commerce is like the majority of companies that exports are small and midsize companies.

They grow faster. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. All right. You know, I'm sorry. Go ahead.

Laurent: Oh, no, no, no. Always look into exporting. Definitely. Always.

Wendy: Yeah. Keep back. Always looking towards exporting. I love that. Okay. So, you know, I'm going to end on this. What's your favorite

Laurent: foreign word?

Oh, Lordy. Uh, well, the last time you asked me, I said bricoleur, which is a collector, collecting, collector of experience of, of memories of, you know, I think it's a great word in French. This time, oh my gosh, I don't know. Oh, you caught me off guard. Same word. [00:37:00]

Wendy: It's still your favorite.

Laurent: Yeah. Let's see.

Let's use it. I, yeah, I'm sorry. I didn't think you were going to ask me the same question. I thought maybe you'd come back with something different, but.

Wendy: If you remember which word you gave, that means it is. So say the word again.

Laurent: Bricoleur. B R I C O L L E U R. It means collector in French. So, bricoleur of memories or experiences or what.

So, yeah. For you, it's stories, right? Yeah.

Wendy: Oh, yeah. I love to collect stories and memories because I love to travel. So, uh, Rico Laur, I'm going to have to start adding that into my repertoire.

Laurent: Right. There you go. So, Laurent,

Wendy: this has been a pleasure. Again, this is going to be a, an episode that I refer back to and send on to people because it's just so helpful to talk about all the resources that are out there.

So where can people get in touch with you if they want to reach you?

Laurent: And Georgia, naturally, my [00:38:00] email is lkahl, L K A H L at Georgia, S B D C dot O R G. And my work phone is direct is 678. 2030522. This is for Georgia National. We only as SBDC here in Georgia, we only can help Georgia companies because that's just our modus operandi, just like the people in Florida do or the South Carolina.

They can really only help companies established in their state. Okay,

Wendy: so if you're in Georgia, reach out to Laurent. If you're in another state and you want help, go to the show notes, click on the link as to where the other state contacts are. We have it on our website, so we'll drop it in there and then reach out to them and tell them that Laurent Calf from the University of Georgia International Trade Center.

sent you. And if you want any help on getting a STEP [00:39:00] grant to get your website or your marketing materials developed and translated, certainly reach out to me. Cause we can help you develop a quote and then know what to apply for when you talk to your straight state trade rep. So this is, this has been a delight.

Laurent: Thank you. Anyway, so thank you so much. I enjoyed it, Wendy. And thank you again for allowing me the opportunity to talk to you and being interviewed again for the second time. And don't forget to, to use, uh, Wendy's translation services in her book, global Marketing. And yeah.

Thank you again, Wendy. Appreciate it.


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