Global Marketplace: A Small Business Point of View
Years ago, I never thought of exporting anything because of the paperwork. It’s horrendous for a small company like mine. Based in Indian Trails, N.C., Micro Lens Technology, Inc. designs and engraves optical patterns into cylinders and plastic film to produce images that have an illusion of depth or the ability to change and move. We’ve produced 3-D posters for movies and have even had brides place orders with us for their big day.
If you have a pattern or image, we can print, mount and laminate it. We strive to ship all orders within 8-24 hours of receipt and confirmation. The shipment can be a few pounds to a gigantic cylinder weighing 3,000 pounds to anywhere in the world. And I’m proud to say that 60 percent of our product is exported.
Now I can tell you the other side of the export story. When you have FedEx working with you, they take care of a lot of the paperwork and help you navigate the export-import rules.
I think some companies are afraid to try having a global business because of the rules and regulations. But when you think about it, doing business with someone in China or India or Germany is the same. FedEx made export shipping easy for us, and it’s because of this help that we’re still in business.
We have about 10 people today, but our business has grown a lot since we began in 1997. In the first nine years, we moved four times and each one was to larger facilities. Business growth is overseas, so if you’re a small-business owner like I am, you have to try exporting. I did and now Micro Lens Technology is global.
NOTE: As a part of our on-going series of international focused posts, this post was written by small business owner Ken Conley of Micro Lens Technology.