Small Businesses Should Focus on Exports

This fall, U.S. exports hit their highest level in two years, according to the U.S. Commerce Dept. While census data show that small and midsized businesses account for 97 percent of all exports, that comes to less than half the dollar value of those exports—just 31 percent. Small businesses need to start exploring how they can tap into market growth overseas, particularly in the developing world, says international business consultant Kathleen Brush, who has helped lead 20 different companies since 1994 and who recently published her latest book, Leadership: Getting Ready for the Latest Global Challenges. She spoke recently to Smart Answers columnist Karen E. Klein about how U.S. businesses can increase profits by expanding internationally in 2011. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow.

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