2013 Small Business Exporter Survey

From May 1st through the 17th, the National Small Business Association (NSBA) and the Small Business Exporters Association (SBEA) surveyed over 500 small business owners online. Every industry and every state in the nation were represented. Both the NSBA and SBEA strongly emphasize the pivotal role small business exporters play in United States trade. While more small businesses are exporting today than just three years ago, increasing export awareness in the small business community in the United States remains nothing short of a challenge. Even paired with the concerted efforts put forth by the National Export Initiative (NEI), the NSBA and SBEA are demanding more.

2013 Small Business Exporter Survey Highlights

Of All Respondents

  • 64% export.
  • 26% are small business manufacturers.
  • 36% employ between 1 to 4 workers full-time.
  • 28% report a gross revenue between $1 to $5 million.
  • 38% report a total payroll of $100,000 or less for the most recent fiscal year.

Of All Exporters

  • 52% export goods.
  • 18% export services.
  • 30% export both goods and services.
  • 25% have been exporting less than 5 years.
  • 23% have been exporting more than 20 years.
  • 55% export to fewer than 5 countries.
  • 15% export to more than 20 countries.
  • 52% report an increase in exports by volume over the last 5 years.
  • 41% report concern over payment as their biggest challenge to exporting.
  • 69% ship on receipt of full payment in advance only.
  • 25% cite access to export financing as either very or extremely important to exporting.
  • 35% report that access to export financing has gotten more difficult over the years.
  • 22% have never heard of Exim Bank.
  • 41% have been using Exim Bank products for more than 10 years.
  • 31% report having trouble exporting to countries due to foreign import restrictions.
  • Canada, China, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Australia were among the top ranking export markets.

Of All Non-Exporters

  • 46% cite lack of information as the chief barrier to exporting.
  • 58% have heard of exporting programs through Small Business Development Centers (SBDC).
  • 63% are interested in exporting in the future.

What Will Motivate You to Grow Your Export Sales? 


  • 40% want export tax incentives.
  • 35%  want more training and technical assistance.
  • 35% want export assistance and services consolidated to a single agency.


  • 49% want more training and technical assistance.
  • 33% want export assistance and services consolidated to a single agency.
  • 33% want a strong small business advocate within the United States Trade Representative Office.

For complete information on the 2013 Small Business Exporter Survey conducted by the NSBA and the SBEA, click here.

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2013 Small Business Exporter Survey
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