TEN STEPS TO START OR BOOST YOUR EXPORTING
From local farmers to multinational corporations, no matter what business you're in, the key principle is always the same. Grow your market to increase sales and boost your bottom line. It couldn't be simpler.
But it's easy to get stuck in a ‘small business' mindset and ignore the growth potential that the rest of the world has to offer. Trading regionally or nationally might be paying off enough to get you by, but it limits your businesses growth potential and prevents it from ever really taking off.
If you believe in your product or service and it's selling well, there's more than a good chance that there's a bigger market out there for you and, with the right support, it's within your grasp.
For thousands of years, tradesmen and women have crossed the ocean to bring their wares to shores anew and we think it's about time you joined them.
To help you on your way, here's our ten-step guide to starting or boosting your exporting.
1. WISELY SELECT THE RIGHT MARKETS FOR YOU
Demand for products and services differs all over the world. Not all markets will be suitable for your business. So, the first step to selecting the right market is, you guessed it, market research.
Location, infrastructure, currency, legislation and culture are all factors that should be considered when selecting the most suitable export region for your business. But don't let that put you off because there are tonnes of help out there to support you through this process, which brings us on to our next point.
2. GET EXPERT ADVICE
To successfully trade with another nation, you need to understand their regulations, how they interact with your countries codes of conduct, the legal implications of exporting and the import, customs, payroll and taxation rules. Okay, we admit it, that sounds like a lot of work, but the reality is, this information is much easier to come by that you might imagine.
Luckily, there are plenty of easy to access support systems to assist in this process and, in all likelihood, the chances are that this work has already been done for you. The first port of call in the UK is the Department for International Trade and UK Export Finance.
3. HAVE A PLAN
Now. you'll need a clearly defined export plan and there's plenty of things you'll need to consider. Will your packaging appeal to your new market? Is there a legal requirement to label products differently? Is the translation accurate and on-brand? Do you have the resources and capacity needed to deliver your exporting ambition or will you need to borrow funds or hire help? Should you consider a test launch in a smaller market first or visit trade fairs to showcase your product and build new contacts? Think about these questions and run them past your expert advice service.
4. FIND YOUR OPPORTUNITES
This is the fun one. Trade fairs are often one of the best ways to find opportunities to meet buyers and generate new business. If you're ready to make sure your business is set up to export from the UK, want to showcase your product to overseas buyers and are seeking international opportunities, great.gov.uk is the best place to start.
5. SELECT YOUR ROUTE TO MARKET
Getting your goods to your new global marketplace quickly and safely is, naturally, one of the most important steps to successfully trading internationally. But there are different ways to approach this, depending on your business model.
These include selling directly, using a distributor, using a sales agent or creating a joint venture. Whichever option you choose, it's important to ensure you clarify the responsibility for things like delivery and payment and remember to protect your intellectual property.
6. FLEX YOUR COMPETITIVE MUSCLE
Doing business outside your own country isn't that much different to trading locally. You still need to offer a strong USP and have an edge over your competitors to set yourself and your product apart, both from competitors located within the market and from other exporters.
One way to do this is to firmly focus on your margins to keep your costs down so that you can compete with your competitor's prices and debunk the notion that everything that is imported is pricier.
7. MINIMISE CURRENCY RISK
Nothing fluctuates quite like currency. But there are ways to minimise the risk of currency exchange rates working against you. Many payment platforms now let you choose the currency which you want your invoice to be paid in. You can also request early or upfront payment on invoices, ensuring exchange rates don't swing out of your favour before your client parts with their cash.
8. TAKE THE TIME TO MAKE GREAT PARTNERSHIPS
Customers, suppliers and sub-contractors who you work with overseas may still prefer to deal with a local company or representative. But this isn't a problem if you outsource the management of your overseas supply chain.
A fulfilment centre, for example, can store and deliver goods internationally, taking away some of the pressures and risks involved in exporting. But it's important to invest time in this process, making sure you choose overseas representatives, partners, suppliers and agents that genuinely understand your business and growth strategy.
9. REDUCE THE RISK OF LATE OR NON-PAYMENT
Cash flow is important to every business and late or non-payments can seriously mess your business up. Securing credit from a bank, to tide you over also presents its own risks. But there is another way.
Fintech networks such as URICA can provide advance cash to cover the cost of export operations, providing you with funds to cover the cost of your production and export operations, effectively minimising the risk incurred when a client pays late or not at all.
10. PROTECT AND LEVERAGE YOUR BRAND
When expanding into global markets it's important to maintain your brand identity and make sure your trademark and name is legally protected. In the world of online business, a company using your trademark in another country could be as damaging as someone opening a store, with the same name as yours, down the street from you do business. Read more about protecting your brand overseas at business News Daily here.
Follow these steps and start your journey to global profits by taking boundaries out of the equation and broadening your business horizons.
The International Business Festival returns to the UK, from 12 – 28th June 2018 and exporting will be high on the agenda. Sign-up below and stay informed about the event's three-week programme. Realise your true business potential at the 2018 International Business Festival.