Beth Marcus' first company, Exos, made a name for itself selling gear to American gamers. Microsoft bought Exos in 1996, and the 49-year-old Marcus has gone on to launch Zeemote. This time around, she has a whole new strategy. The 16-person Bedford (Mass.) company, which lets consumers use their cell phones as game consoles, is seeking its first customers to buy her product, but not in the U.S. Instead, Marcus is looking overseas, particularly in Asia and Europe, where cell phone networks are more open to companies like hers.
Marcus is one of about 246,000 entrepreneurs now selling abroad. Exports rose 12%, to $1.2 trillion, from 2006 to 2007, according to the International Trade Administration. That included increases of 18% to China, 28% to Brazil, and 74% to India. Small businesses account for about 30% of all U.S. exports.