Selling Internationally from Southern Utah and Other Perfect Places

by Tim Anderson

You, as a small business entrepreneur selling U.S. made products, may be feeling totally discouraged because you think the market is drying up. Well, think again! U.S. products are still in demand in other parts of the world – notwithstanding the global economic uncertainty of our time. Further, it has never been easier to market and sell the products of small town USA to Main Street London, Berlin, Tokyo, Beijing, Sydney or Paris.

Take the example of one of my Utah-based clients, Stampin’ Up! Inc. About six years ago, the company embarked on a strategy to move out into the world in anticipation of a slower United States market. Now, roughly a fifth of its entire revenues are realized by sales in such near foreign countries as Canada or the United Kingdom and from such distant places as France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.

You would think Stampin’ Up! was selling a consumable that consumers could not do without, but guess what? The company sells decorative rubber stamps and accessories through in-home parties. These products are hardly consumables but nevertheless something that the scrapbookers, arts and crafters and lovers of card making cannot do without. While the world markets quake a bit, Stampin’ Up!’s international sales continue to grow.

This is a prime example of how a company with its manufacturing plant in the remote southern Utah town of Kanab (where many of the great John Wayne westerns and the tv show “Gunsmoke” were produced), has succeeded in bringing its product to the world markets.

The key to selling globally is simple–you have to think globally. You need to identify those opportunities elsewhere in the world where margins are sufficiently high to justify tackling the foreign regulatory boggy and doing what is required to bring your “made-in-America products” to those who want them, appreciate them and are willing to pay for them. This can sometimes be daunting.

For those who shy away from additional regulatory complexities today, you need only get a whiff of Business Administration 101 to find out that the regulatory infrastructure of the EU, Canada, Japan and other key markets is the soon-to-be regulatory structure of domestic sellers in the United States. The trends are clear, especially as those who love government regulation are now occupying the halls, walls and byways of the White House and our nation’s capital. So don’t shy away if you are serious about finding new places to sell your stuff. You either stay in the game or stand outside the stadium hoping that a ticket scalper will be kind to you. It is your choice.

In subsequent articles, I will address the basics of selling internationally. Whether it is belt buckles from southern Utah, saddles from Texas, Noni Juice from Hawaii, heritage products from North Carolina, or Native American jewelry from the reservations of Arizona and New Mexico, there are opportunities for the perfect small town American places to sell in the global main street.

NOTE: The next article – a brief history lesson. I will tell you about the greatest empire in the history of the world that has made it easy for you to sell globally. And it is not the United States of America.

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