Export Strategies for Small American Firms

by Jacques Delacroix



One important reason for the minor involvement of the U. S. companies in export is the widespread belief that the export game is the exclusive preserve of corporate giants. This belief is perpetuated by the habitual reliance of textbooks on cases and examples relating principally the export deeds of large companies. In recent years, the 4% or less of the American workforce that is employed in agriculture have regularly contributed about 20% of the value of the U. S. exports. American farms have in any case; overcome the obstacles that small firm size places in the path of export marketing. They have achieved this in two ways, (1) by selling their products to large intermediaries whose sole function is to market abroad. (2) By transferring their organizational experience with cooperatives to marketing activities. Farmers have formed Webb-Pomerene associations that are essentially export cooperatives, free from a number of anti-trust constraints. A large number of small companies-service firms as well as manufacturers and, among the latter, some operating very small plants, are in a position to double their potential market through exports. This requires that they join forces for overseas expansion.

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