In a state dominated by internationally recognized brands and manufacturers, this may surprise you: small business exporting now represents 90 percent of Michigan exports.

 This growth in Michigan small businesses competing internationally is part of a nationwide trend. A 2023 study commissioned by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) places the number of exporting small businesses in the U.S. at 1.3 million –– nearly a fivefold increase over previous government estimates.  

If you’re not already exporting, the SBA data should offer even more encouragement to consider doing so. Now more than ever, it’s a smart small business growth strategy. Thanks to the higher-than-expected numbers and the multiple benefits of exporting, the SBA and the Michigan Small Business Development Center are pledging resources to help fuel small business growth overseas.


Why your small business should export. 

The International Trade Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that promotes United States exports of nonagricultural U.S. services and goods, cites these key reasons Michigan small businesses, or those starting a business in Michigan, should consider exporting:

  • Demand. There are a lot of buyers out there. In fact, more than 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States. Michigan small businesses are capturing a growing piece of that market.
  • Access. Tech has changed everything. The internet, improved logistics channels, free trade agreements, and an array of small business consulting services and support programs (we’ll get to those in a moment) have made exporting more achievable, even for small businesses.
  • Profitability. On average, Michigan small businesses that export see faster sales increases, greater job creation, and higher salary growth than non-exporting firms. The bottom line: Exporting fuels small business growth.
  • Competitive advantage. America has a brand. We’re known worldwide for high-quality, innovative goods and services, exemplary customer service and sound business practices. That’s your brand’s built-in advantage.
  • Risk mitigation. Exporting makes it easier for Michigan small businesses to ride out fluctuations in the economy and thrive.* 

How we can help.

The Michigan SBDC offers no-cost small business consulting services to help Michigan small businesses market products and services to an international audience. Services include:

Export self-directed online classes.

We’ll teach you the basics and help you determine how prepared your Michigan small business is to begin exporting. Our courses are packed with videos, templates and guides and are the perfect first step before meeting with your SBDC Export Certified Consultant.

Export early assistance.

Through a five-dimensional early export assessment, a Michigan SBDC Export Certified Consultant will determine if your Michigan small business is ready to expand internationally, then offer the first steps you need to successfully export.

Export business planning.

We’ll show you how to grow your small business by expanding your business plan to cover marketing to, selling in, and serving international markets. 

Export financial planning.

We’ll lay the foundation for small business growth by assessing your operation to ensure it is ready for the move into exports.

International SEO report.

Our robust international search engine optimization (SEO) report will help you understand global markets and how to improve your rankings on Google and other search engines –– critical small business growth strategies. Your Michigan SBDC Export Certified Consultant will show you how to use our report to improve and prepare your website and product offering for the countries you’re targeting, and how to rely on it for cybersecurity and GDPR checklists to assist in foreign compliance.

Export landed cost program.

We can help prepare Michigan small businesses to begin exporting financially with landed cost estimates for your products. Your Michigan SBDC Export Certified Consultant will help identify proper HS codes, establish acceptable margins, and accurately design your export plan financials, laying the foundation for small business growth.

Network and resources.

We’ll connect you with our network of export specialists and resources to help you expand successfully into international markets. 

Begin your export journey.

Clearly, exporting is not simply an idea for the future for your small business. It’s a solid small business growth strategy for today. To learn more, and to find the support you need to fuel small business growth through exports, visit

Start tapping the potential in international sales, now.




*“Why Export?” International Trade Administration | Trade.Gov, Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

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