Helping small businesses sell outside the United States

MERCED, California

An exporting workshop was held at the Merced College Business Resource Center. And experts say there's plenty of help available year round for those who want to expand their customer base by selling to other countries.

Tuesday, Action News spoke to the president of one local business that's already having success overseas.

You may not know Bob Robertson, but you've probably seen his company's products across California.

Robertson is the president of Soil Stabilization Products Company in Merced. His small business developed a liquid technology to prepare the ground for roads and railroads, and also makes a natural pavement.

"This is the one product technology in the nation and globally that's a serious alternative to hot mix asphalt in performance, the ability to put down a road, a street, a parking lot, or a trail or patio, a plaza," explained Robertson.

The company sells its products across the U.S. and has also expanded into several other countries with help from the Small Businesses Administration. Robertson says international customers now make up about ten percent of the sales.

Robertson added, "One of the interesting realities is you can ship an ocean going container around the world for less money than to put it on top of a flat bed and ship it to Florida."

The SBA is hoping other local companies will see how beneficial exporting can be -- through a series of workshops, including one in Merced.

Deputy District Director for the SBA Dawn Golik said, "When you're a small business, sometimes it's difficult to find new customers, and the reality is 95% population lives outside the United States, and exporting is a terrific opportunity to find those new customers, expand into new markets, and tap into opportunities for growth and bigger profits."

Golik says sometimes it's as simple as sending a shipment to Mexico or Canada, and there are plenty of free resources available to help make that happen.

"There's never been a better time with changes in tariffs and trade agreements," said Golik. "It's become easier than ever for businesses to export, and with support from the federal government, it's made it less risky than ever."

You can learn much more about exporting by visiting your local centers for international trade development, or through the SBA's website.

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