Export of services accounts for nearly 33% of all exports according to US government statistics. One example of this would be Avant Assessment of Eugene, Oregon.
Avant produces language-proficiency tests and had a thriving business with the US defence and intelligence agencies. Cutbacks on government contracts for their services resulted in a need to find alternative revenue sources for their products. Enter the Qatar Foundation calling and asking for Arabic tests for Qatari children.
This reactive export opportunity (Avant initially thought the call from the Middle East was a prank call) has now resulted in Avant’s exports accounting for almost half of their sales.
With such a success story it is a wonder why more US companies aren’t more proactive with their international marketing activities. Although the US exports quite a bit, it comes from mostly large corporations (80% of exports come from about 1% of exporters in the US). In fact, the US ranks near the bottom of total export sales as a percentage of GDP when compared with most industrialized countries (13.5% compared to 51% of German GDP for example).
As the world economy continues to outpace the US in terms of growth, there are tremendous opportunities for US manufacturers and service providers to realize significant revenue opportunities from new international markets.
If companies don’t feel they have the internal resources to grow internationally (the reason most often given) then there are many public organizations and private consulting companies ready to help. Avant Assessment got lucky and now understands the importance of diversifying globally.