Expanding The World Of Small Business
Your article, "It's a small (business) world" (Special Report, Apr. 17), was interesting for not letting the facts stand in the way of a good story. Attributing 50.8% of this year's exports to companies with fewer than 500 employees is a remarkable growth scenario.
In fact, the last census figures, from 1987, showed that small manufacturing businesses accounted for only 7.5% of total exports, or 12% of manufactured goods exported by manufacturers.
Either number represents a big difference from the DRI/McGraw-Hill estimate of 45.5% a decade ago and makes it unlikely that small businesses will account for 50.8% of exports in 1995, as the story would have us believe.
Publisher, The Exporter
Trade Data Reports Inc.
Editor's note: The discrepancy between the census figures and DRI/McGraw- Hill's estimates stems from differing methodologies. DRI's estimates included some companies with more than 500 employees, and the chart on page 99 should have indicated that.
Your story neglected to mention an important export tool that can help small business: export trading/management companies. They act as the sales arm of small businesses and can coordinate all the services needed to export successfully, such as shipping, payment, and financing. This lets small manufacturers concentrate on what they do best: producing products and services.
A 1993 study by the Small Business Exporters Assn. found that the U.S. government's level of financial support was 2.9% of the sales value of exports. Support in Germany was 5.7%, Britain 11.6%, France 23.4%, and Japan 51.4%.
Today, Congress is talking about cutting even this limited effort. Citizens and the Congress should be aware that the advancement of exporting is key to economic survival. It is also the least expensive job creator the nation has.
E. Martin Duggan
Small Business Exporters Assn.