Riding The Greenback

You can play the strong dollar to a stronger bottom line

If you think international finance isn't a small-business concern, think again. Small companies now comprise an astonishing 97% of those selling overseas, according to the Small Business Administration. Yet many entrepreneurs who have rushed bravely into foreign markets seem downright timid when it comes to using currencies other than the greenback. Some 80% of small companies trade exclusively in dollars, compared with about half of large businesses, says Keith Cheveralls, general manager of global foreign exchange services for FleetBoston Financial Corp. This is no academic concern. Such reluctance could have a big impact on the bottom line--especially now, with the U.S. dollar gaining in strength against many of the world's major currencies.

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