Donald V. Clark is ready to help export U.S.-made goods, but he's had trouble locating interested companies. In his December letter he charged that government agencies maintain no lists of companies interested in exporting ("Peddling Overseas," December 1990, [Article link]). Several readers suggested alternative sources of information.
Mr. Clark should attend domestic and international trade shows in those industries with which he is involved. Companies exhibit at these shows for a thousand and one reasons, and one is to meet distributors and sales reps. Many trade-show directories, including Tradeshow Week Data Book (published by Trade Show Week, Los Angeles, 213-826-5696), list the foreign-market interests of exhibitors.
International Marketing Manager
Reed Exhibition Cos.
The Transatlantic Trade Association was set up by owners of small businesses that participated in a trade congress called Export89. The association encourages commerce between small and midsize firms in the United States and Europe. Its address is 1101 Vermont Ave. N.W., Suite 303, Washington DC 20005; phone (202) 371-9005 or fax (202) 371-1699.
Inspired by her child's show-and-tell, Leslie Homen has designed a poster she plans to sell through direct mail from her home. She understands the basics of her new business, but she's looking for a publication that can answer legal questions and help her with details ("Show and Sell," December 1990, [Article link]).
Barbara Breybeck puts out a quarterly newsletter, "National Home Business Reports." A year's subscription costs $18.
Inter-Tech Trading Co.
New York City
The must-have book on direct-mail marketing is Bob Stone's Successful Direct Marketing Methods (NTC Publishing Group, 4255 W. Touhy, Lincolnwood, IL 60646-1975; 708-679-5500).
Center for Urban Economic Development
University of Illinois
Credit Where Credit's Due
Angela Lewis asked Network how she could set up a mail-order merchant account to process credit-card orders for her new business. Her local banks don't offer such a service ("Credit Check," December 1990, [Article link]).
Several companies provide credit-order facilities. They typically include a computer terminal and a printer to transfer funds for MasterCard, Visa, and Discover. The cost should start at about $1,100, plus a 15¢ to 35¢ fee per transaction. Many of these companies are listed in Inc.'s classified advertising section.
Holiday Treats Inc.
Massapequa Park, N.Y.
I had the same problem as Ms. Lewis. When I opened an account with a bank, I gave a street address and did not mention that my business was a mail-order one. I then got the merchant account I needed, and now I'm in business.
Gold Expo Inc.
Take the Plunge
Back in November we received a query from a St. Louis commercial banker. The directors of one of his accounts want him to join the company and eventually replace the president ("Another World," November 1990, [Article link]). This banker wanted to hear from others who had made the move into "the real world." Would they do it again?
As a nine-year veteran of commercial banks and thrifts, I'll answer a resounding "Yes!" Two years ago I purchased the assets of a foundering company, left my bank, and started a new, minority-owned collection service that I have successfully marketed to emergency medical service ambulance providers. Not a single day goes by that I don't call on the managerial, analytical, and communications skills I learned as a banker. It was the perfect training. Come on in, the water's fine.