By Rieva Lesonsky

Whether you are a small business owner considering exporting for the first time, or an entrepreneur who is already exporting but wants to expand your reach even further, Exporting: The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably is an invaluable guide to navigating the often-challenging waters of exporting. Global small business expert Laurel Delaney has decades of experiences helping small business owners successfully export their products and/or services, and in this comprehensive, practical guide, she draws on real-life experience and insider knowledge.

Exporting is divided into nine sections that take you step-by-step through what you’ll need to know to become an exporter.

Building Your Foundations for Exporting examines whether you are ready to export; writing an export business plan; corporate, legal, and financial issues and HR.

Creating and Using Online Platforms covers online fundamentals including creating a website, using social media, harnessing ecommerce platforms such as eBay, Alibaba, and Etsy, and how to use the Internet to market worldwide.

Mapping Out Your Export Journey explains how to find products to export, draft a supplier agreement; research an export market and translate your marketing material for a global audience.

Developing Sales and Distribution Capabilities shows you how to find global customers, explains different methods of exporting, and analyzes cross-border alliances and partnerships.

Managing the Transaction explores shipping, pricing, payment, cargo details, and documentation.

Keep Building Your Business shows you how to provide exceptional service and explains the importance of cross-cultural learning.

The Export Journey explores ethical conduct, shares international-business travel tips, and offers detailed information on the top 10 emerging markets for exporting.

Finally, in Export Mastery you’ll get real-life success stories and advice from interviews with successful export-business owners. These entrepreneurs, from a wide range of industries, share what they learned the hard way, what works (and what doesn’t) and how they’re responding to the latest trends in exporting.

Each chapter of Exporting is packed with quick “Tips” to help you. For example, if you’re panicking at the thought of translating your website into dozens of languages, don’t! Instead, take it one language at a time and add more based on customer interest.


Delaney also provides copious resources. The chapter on hiring global employees, for instance, includes dozens of websites where you can find freelancers and contractors, place want ads to hire employees, or contact schools and universities to find overseas students to hire.


If you’re a woman business owner like I am, you may be leery of exporting for fear of dealing with sexism and traveling in risky countries. While not downplaying the challenges women face, Delaney points out some of the special advantages women have in the international arena—such as how you can use the fact that you’re a novelty to your advantage.


Exporting is a useful mix of meaty information, resources to help you take the next step, and real-life anecdotes and examples that bring Delaney’s advice to life. For example, she paints a vivid picture of two possible global job candidates—one a casual, friendly type, the other polite and reserved—and explains which one would be the better hire for an exporting business and why (it may not be who you think).


At 500-plus pages, Exporting is not light reading, but it’s the kind of resource guide you’ll want at your side (and no doubt dog-ear again and again) as you start on your journey to global expansion. Bon voyage!