NEW YORK -- Small business owners who want to manufacture their goods overseas may find it's a daunting prospect, and a venture that has many unexpected pitfalls. Some tips to make the process easier:
— Don't figure it all out on your own. Talk to business owners who have gone through the process. Resources include SCORE, the organization that gives free advice to small business owners; you can find a counselor with experience in overseas manufacturing at www.score.org . Small Business Development Centers, or SBDCs, also can explain the steps. You can find SBDCs, many of which are on college campuses, at www.sba.gov/sbdc . An accountant or attorney who's worked with companies that manufacture overseas should also be a good resource.
— Get referrals for manufacturers. When looking for a manufacturer, or a company that helps businesses find factories overseas, start by asking business people you know for referrals. Trade and professional groups, chambers of commerce and networking groups are good resources too. A bank that works with small businesses may also be able to help. Ask a lot of questions about what worked and what went wrong in the manufacturing process.
— Be careful about payments to companies you don't know. Talk to a bank that handles payments to overseas manufacturers about the process. Accountants and attorney can also be good guides through this phase of your venture.
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