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We all feel it: The past several weeks have felt more like years instead of the third month of an already long year. The health of our loved ones, work families and communities weigh heavily on our hearts.


Stay-at-home directives, relief programs and guidance at all levels consume our time. Then you have the challenges of running a business — a small business — during a global pandemic.


Thinking about the future tugs at us even as we struggle to keep everyone employed and insured. Growth and strategic positioning are pushed to the background. However, never has there been a more crucial time to think of new ways to grow and generate revenue. This, like all things, will pass and we need to get ready now to grow later.


We need a plan, and we need one now.


In an article published by Kansas Global, professionals around the world from various industries echo this course of action for business moving forward, especially small business. The backbone of every nation’s economy, small businesses must be prepared to act on the global opportunities that will arise post-pandemic.


International trade, especially sales abroad, will be one of the largest determinants of the speed and strength of recovery for our businesses and communities.


History has shown us that those who retreat from the global marketplace face a steeper climb to regaining, keeping and growing market share. Those who embrace trade and pursue new international relationships and opportunities find themselves leagues ahead.


As the leader of a small business, I am with you. Here are steps you can take to prepare for future growth.


Pay attention to global opportunities. There will be new opportunities to buy from or sell to global markets. Once you identify meaningful opportunities, prepare to follow through. While other companies retract from global trade, you can secure deals you would not have gotten otherwise.


Do not underestimate the increased complexities of exporting in a post-pandemic world — whether it be trade barriers, compliance complexities, shipping or logistics issues, financing questions, or legal problems, the world of global trade is not getting any easier to navigate. But what is worthwhile is never easy.


Build your trade support team. Race cars have pit crews to win races; make sure you have a team who supports you and your success. Do not let the fear of international trade complexity keep you from pursuing new opportunities.


Now is the time to go boldly forward — to seek opportunities in new places, to push yourself to new limits. These challenging times require it. Grow where others think you cannot.


Karyn Page is the president and CEO of Kansas Global Trade Services and the chairwoman of ITAC-9 (International Trade Advisory Committee for Small & Minority Businesses).