business, simplifying shipping procedures. More broadly, the USITC notes,“Falling costs and the increasing ease of transporting products to most locations around the world is an important factor spurring SME exports.”3 Payments Many of the businesses interviewed for this report indicated they used one or more online payments services to facilitate foreign transactions. Companies including Deering Banjo, Lil Sidekick, SleepPhones and Strider Sports mentioned using tools such as PayPal, Square and Stripe to ease e-commerce transactions with customers around the world. Jackson of Protect Your Pumps explains the importance of offering multiple payment gateways like PayPal and Amazon Pay. “Having that variety of payment gateways has been good for consumers.” More broadly, businesses find that utilizing platforms like PayPal and Stripe enable the secure transfer of funds from one country to another and encourage international sales. PayPal notes that over 65% of its U.S.-based “top merchants” conduct transactions across borders.4 Productivity tools Web-based tools enable U.S. small businesses to export to foreign markets in less obvious ways as well. Simplifying processes and communication helps small teams do big things. Online tools that offer a centralized database with real-time information play a significant role in enabling Genteel to operate a global business from Midland, Texas and Portland, Oregon. “What’s nice about [Google] Drive is that we can simultaneously have people in all the different offices or sales presentations and they can make changes simultaneously,” noted CEO Jacobs, who added that cloud-based software also allows customer service agents to track shipping status and customer service tickets. Lai of SleepPhones added the importance she places on having, “the ability to have virtual face-to-face meetings with partners abroad via Skype or share documents using Quip or simply chat with people using Google Hangouts.” She keys on these tools as essential for her company’s day-to-day business. Schmuecker of Oxbow Animal Health sounded a similar theme, stressing the importance of tools such as GoToMeeting and Skype as especially beneficial in providing platforms to communicate. “WeChat and Whatsapp are especially important in the Asia Pacific,” Schmuecker added. It’s not just technology or consumer-facing businesses who benefit from the internet. As McKinsey noted, more than three- quarters of the value of the internet accrues to traditional industries in manufacturing, agriculture, and other sectors.5 KaMin CEO Hobbes remarked that,“an open global internet is essential to conducting our export business efficiently” and described the important role that internet-enabled systems play in connecting his staff, logistics partners, and customers around the world. The value of global connectivity Taken together, these technologies add up to essential tools for small businesses. “The internet has been absolutely critical,” exclaimed Dr. Wei-Shin Lai of SleepPhones. “It’s amazing the amount of stuff we are able to do now” compared to before it existed. While she is not old enough to know what life was like without internet entirely, she recalls its transformation over the years and its importance in their business today. In order for linguists and customers to connect with one another and utilize inWhatLanguage services, it is essential to have a globally-accessible internet. “We are cloud based,” said Broderick, adding that,“our technology is not a software that is downloaded onto your machine, so it only works where the internet is available.” For small businesses to reach customers in international markets, access to the internet is vital. Without access to the internet, customers cannot purchase goods and services or even learn more what they are offering. As Zalewski of LoveBooks noted,“if the internet didn’t exist, I don’t think we would.” The customized book company, like many businesses today, relies on the internet for nearly every aspect of their operations: to reach customers, to allow customers to build their book, to share data with printers, and to communicate internally. “WE REALLY ENCOURAGE COMPANIES TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF E-COMMERCE PLATFORMS WHO ARE OUT THERE - AMAZON, EBAY, ALIBABA, ETCETERA.” - TEREN TANIUCHI, DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE SERVICES, WORLD TRADE CENTER UTAH 43