Export Assistance Beyond the Turner Center

By James Foley, Director,

Turner Center Operations, FCBA International Programs

The Illinois SBDC International Trade Center in the Turner Center offers a wide range of services to help companies expand their exports.  From research on foreign markets and finding potential partners to product classification and compliance with free trade agreements, our services have helped hundreds of companies significantly expand their exports. However, the Trade Center does not directly assist in the implementation of the export process. When it comes to the actual ‘doing’ of exporting, it is left up to the company. For some companies, time constraints or lack of direct management experience can pose issues.

This has led to an increase in the use of outside companies that offer consulting services to directly implement export-related goals.

Services include assisting with setting up foreign offices, optimizing distributor strategies, and developing an export compliance program. An Illinois example is Blue Sky Consulting Services (www.blueskyconsultingservices.com) based in Vernon Hills.

The company was founded by Doris Nagel who is leveraging her more than 25 years of international trade experience on behalf of clients including CDW, Worthington Industries, and Baxter Health. 

I find that many companies know generally what they need to do, but they are pulled in so many directions and so stretched for time that they have trouble getting things like plans, policies, and training in place.  I suspect many companies could use this kind of temporary boost to jump-start or elevate their international sales, but don’t know where or how to find the kind of help that is practical and cost-effective.”

It’s not just smaller ‘boutique’ consulting firms that offer export-related assistance.  In Central Illinois, all the larger accounting firms including McGladrey LLP, Clifton Larsen Allen, and PWC offer direct access to foreign subsidiaries or foreign affiliates to assist with tax, human resource, or international strategy issues. Often direct access to these domestic experts not only saves time, but may avoid mistakes that can be expensive to fix later. Combining these consulting services with programs already offered by the State of Illinois Office of Trade and Investment and U.S. Department of Commerce can make an unbeatable package of services to help companies succeed internationally. If you want further information on leveraging any of these services, please contact Jim Foley at (309) 677-3075 or jff@bradley.edu.