Small-business forum focuses on exporting
The forum, sponsored by Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce Francisco J. Sánchez, was moderated by a panel of advisers from the International Trade Administration, the Small Business Administration and the Export-Import Bank, who offered advice to help small businesses jump into the exporting industry.
Attendee Andrew Janczak, president of Enecon Corp., a Medford industrial coatings exporter, began his business from a pool table in the basement of his home 22 years ago. Janczak still remembers the challenges his company faced then.
"In our business, we don't know who to go to, I don't know who we should have a meeting with for sales," he said. His company was eventually able to get customers through an ad placed in The Wall Street Journal, but he said one of the most daunting tasks for small- business owners getting into exporting is a lack of knowledge of how to start.
Most of the small-business owners present had already been exporting and were looking for help with finances. John Coluccio, director of maintenance at Mid Island Air Service, a Ronkonkoma company that exports airplanes, said the success of the company's exporting was very dependent on the strength of the dollar abroad.
"Two years ago, my Russian customers sought us out because the dollar was weak," Coluccio said. "It was actually good for my business when the economy tanked, because the dollar was so cheap." He said now that the dollar has gone up, his business has struggled to keep its Russian buyers and he was wary of encouraging others to jump into the market at this point.
"The dollar is gaining," he said, "and that money isn't there anymore on the other end."