Expand Your Client Base
Sell to the Government
The biggest customer of all needs a variety of goods and services.
The United States is a huge buyer of all sorts of things, but the special ways in which the government purchases goods and services can confuse the seller. Different agencies may have their own rules, and all of them adhere to a formal process of bidding; however, because of their large size, the entrepreneur could profit by learning more and winning a bid. The Small Business Administration has created a library whose highly readable short subject pamphlets provide a good introduction. The national General Services Administration gives additional help to small businesses or those owned by women and minorities.
State and Local
Texas purchases most items through its own Texas Procurement and Support Services, which describes its process. Again, the state also offers special help to women and minorities through its HUB program.
Foreign markets present additional opportunity.
The national government encourages American companies to seek foreign markets. The Department of Commerce provides a Trade Information Center containing a list of trade offices around the country at which people can get help as well as information about particular countries. The federal government, also through the Department of Commerce, further promotes international trade by providing advice.
The North American Free Trade Agreement brought significant change to the US economy. Mexico has become the second largest trading partner of the United States, after Canada, and most trade with Mexico flows through Texas.
Export.gov contains data both for aggregate amounts and types of goods to different countries.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis provides accounts of international trade in services.
The Department of Commerce also grants local authorities the permission to establish Foreign Trade Zones, in which customs clearance and other regulatory steps are greatly simplified and speeded. Texas has several such zones.
Trade associations for different groupings of countries exist. The North American Free Trade Association includes the USA, Canada and Mexico. Mercosur comprises Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Asean encompasses many nations in Southeast Asia. And, of course, Mexico has many links to the USA. Go to the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce for more infoprmation.