Skip to content

This UK Export Week, is trading abroad plain sailing?

“Exporting is great” says UK Trade & Industry this UK Export Week. According to the UK government, there has never been a better time to explore new markets and seek out lucrative new relationships overseas.  Whatever your sector, they say, there’s a market out there for your products or services. And in the wake of the recent high profile visits from the Chinese and Indian premiers, it seems that SMEs, under the banner of Brand Britain, should be set on a course for global domination right now.

But is it as easy as it sounds and how feasible is it really for start-ups and budding entrepreneurs to get a foothold overseas?

UKTI representative Mark Robson points to key reasons why UK businesses should venture overseas in his blog ‘seven reasons you can’t afford not to export’. He points to: ease of access to the rest of the world through improvements in transport, trade finance, online communications and trade agreements; a renewed global appetite for the perceived high quality of British brands, faster growth and higher profits, enhanced innovation, upskilling and risk reduction as key drivers for considering exporting as a critical strategy for business growth. Read more at http://www.rbs.com/news/2015/november/seven-reasons-you-can-t-afford-not-to-export.html#Tbe56FmMREZksBv3.99

It all sounds very easy. However an ill thought through approach could sink a business before it’s got to the other side of the English Channel.  With promises of higher returns, come inevitably higher risks and this ratio can be hard to calculate in unchartered territories. Consider for example, the vagaries of currency exchange rates, longer supply times and payment terms creating potential cashflow blockages as well as factors that are completely outside of a business’s control like political contexts, cultural barriers and logistics challenges. The UK government also requires an export license for some technologies, such as those involved in the manufacture of controlled goods and this is of particular importance if you are working in the defence sector. It sounds like a minefield and one that is hard to navigate for a novice exporter.

So if you’re a fledgling business in the science and technology sector like our Catalyst Centre tenants, where do you begin? The UKTI has International Trade Advisors available via their regional networks and they’re easy to contact via its website. Open to Export at www.opentoexport.com offers an Export Action Plan, a free online planning tool for sharing with your chosen advisor.  It covers the basics like: are you ready to export?; which product should you export?; where should you export to?; how will you cover the additional costs?; and how will you make a profit? There are also online webinars covering specific markets and an ‘export bootcamp’.

“My advice would be not to run before you can walk,” says Phil Sharpe, Catalyst Centre mentor. “Ultimately, whatever sector you operate in, if you have the basics covered for an effective UK-launch and growth plan, your business will have firm foundations to expand abroad. A sound value proposition, rigid financial and intellectual property controls, a positive plan for human resources and a commitment to an ongoing quest for innovation are prerequisites for fast-track growth and global scaling.”

you make a profit? There are also online webinars covering specific markets and an ‘export bootcamp’.

“My advice would be not to run before you can walk,” says Phil Sharpe, Catalyst Centre mentor. “Ultimately, whatever sector you operate in, if you have the basics covered for an effective UK-launch and growth plan, your business will have firm foundations to expand abroad. A sound value proposition, rigid financial and intellectual property controls, a positive plan for human resources and a commitment to an ongoing quest for innovation are prerequisites for fast-track growth and global scaling.”

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: