So You Think The World Is Your Oyster

Sure, there's money to be made in exporting. But cracking the global market takes work

Winnebago, a town of nearly 2,000 nestled in the fertile blue-earth plains of southern Minnesota, might not seem like an obvious place to look for globetrotters. But there sits Meter-Man Inc., where 25 employees make agricultural measuring devices. In 1989, the 35-year-old company began exploring the idea of exporting and three years later began shipping products to Europe. Today, a third of Meter-Man's sales are in 35 countries throughout Europe, South America, the Far East, South Africa, and Israel. The company expects international sales to account for about half its business by the turn of the century. "When you start exporting, you say to yourself, this will be icing on the cake," says James Neff, director of sales and marketing. "But now I say going international has become critical to our existence."

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