The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) sets out Nine Principles for an Effective Compliance Program. Compliance with these principles may mitigate penalties levied against you as a small business exporter. Check out the the BIS web site that contains a publication entitled Don’t Let This Happen to You, which includes the nine principles (page 6) and a number of illustrations of non-compliance. There is also a short presentation concerning similar subject matter with a checklist tool that the BIS utilizes.
If you are looking for tips specific to importers and exporters, then take a look at Customs and Border Protection’s Tip Site for links to information about importing into the United States and exporting out of the United States customs territory. The links lead to good information about the processes of importing and exporting for both the novice and expert.