Exporting can help you grow. The UK is a very competitive market. Overseas markets can be less competitive and offer easier routes to growth. And the business benefits of exporting go beyond simple growth. Building a thought-through approach to export can help you spread risk, build better profits from better customers, unlock cash flow, stay ahead of the competition, deal with seasonal fluctuation and add value to your business if you intend to sell it. You can explore these ideas further by taking a look at the module ‘Why Export?’ in the SavvyAcademy.
If you have a product or service which offers something special to the market – maybe you have come up with something innovative that solves a problem others haven’t or maybe identified a niche that others haven’t – then you are off to a good start. If you have a good track record and reputation to tell people about that’s another tick in the box. British products are generally well-received overseas; we have a reputation for quality, innovation and value. You can explore these ideas further by taking a look at the module ‘Communicating Your Offer’ in the SavvyAcademy.
That will depend on the product or service you have to offer. Some businesses have products that are particularly suited to particular niches found in specific parts of the world. In general though, new exporters find that ease of access to a market is a more important consideration than market potential. So targeting the Dutch market may be a better option that going for the US market even though it is smaller. Time spent on research is obviously the key. You can explore these ideas further by taking a look at the module ‘Your Ideal Market’ in the SavvyAcademy.
You will need to put in some time up front to do a bit of research and thinking and you’ll probably need to visit your target market and maybe commission a bit of research, so you will need a budget to cover this. The key is to think this through and not commit yourself to something you can’t see through. You can explore these ideas further by taking a look at the modules ‘The Road Ahead’ and ‘Your Resource’ in the SavvyAcademy.
You are probably already very busy, and your resources may be stretched to the limit just trading here in the UK – so how will you find the resources to fuel international trade. Where there is a will there is a way! – Many businesses find that they can conduct more sustainable and scalable business overseas – it is a question of priorities and organisation. Where will you get the best return on the resources that you engage? You can take a look at how you might prioritise and set your business up for success in the modules ‘Your Resources’ and ‘Resourcing Growth’ in the SavvyAcademy.
Once you understand your resource limitations you can set up a business model that accounts for this and provides you with a platform that connects with customers and is both sustainable and most importantly profitable! This is a central part of building a sustainable plan. You can take a look at how you might do this by looking at the module ‘Your Route to Market’ in the SavvyAcademy. This will really get you thinking and provide you with lots of information and tools to shape your ideas.
Most businesses who trade overseas work with in-market partners to provide local sales, marketing etc, etc. These partners come in all shapes and sizes from joint venture partners to distributors or agents to licensees or franchisees. An important decision is to think through what type of ‘channel’ is going to suit you and the market best. When you are clear in your mind about that you can start to focus on finding a specific partner to meet your needs. You can explore these ideas further by taking a look at the module ‘Your Route to Market’ in the SavvyAcademy.
You’ll need to check them out. You don’t want just anybody representing you. Start with the Checklist ’10 Initial Questions for Unsolicited Partner Enquiries’. You’ll probably also find it useful to take a look at the module ‘Approaching Partner Selection’ in the SavvyAcademy.
Before you start make sure you are really clear about exactly what it is you are looking for. Precisely what do they need to offer you? With that clear, many businesses network on-line or through attending an exhibition overseas to generate contacts. UK Trade and Investment (the government arm that supports exporters) offers a specially developed partner identification service which is a great way of homing in on potential partners. You can explore these ideas further by taking a look at the module ‘Approaching Partner Selection’ in the SavvyAcademy.