Wading into the global marketplace may make perfect sense, but how do you get started? Two excellent guides on exporting and foreign hiring are troves of advice and resources:

Export Profits, by Jack S. Wolf (Upstart Publishing, Dover, N.H., 1992, $19.95), is an oversized workbook geared to small and midsize companies. It starts by helping the reader evaluate his or her company's export potential and gives tips on finding people who can assist in exporting. Wolf proceeds step-by-step, explaining how to identify market candidates; how to test-market; how to select a trade representative or distributor; and how to draft international-trade agreements, among many other processes. The book is studded with resources and also includes 143 pages' worth of them in the appendixes.

Once you're exporting, you'll need Staffing Europe (Acropolis Books, Herndon, Va., 1991, $24.95), by Max Messmer, chairman of Robert Half International. It contains good personnel resources, but perhaps even more valuable is its insight into the history of the European Community and each country's workplace standards. The book explains how to locate candidates from afar and names useful resources; it also gives advice on how to keep a European staff motivated.

-- Ellyn E. Spragins