International Trade need not be difficult

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People who know what I do would find it no surprise I am once again writing on the subject of Export being good for you.

Yet still many companies are not exploring the opportunity, I am delighted to be involved with the Federation of Small Businesses and last year they produced a report citing a huge opportunity to double the number of small business exporters.

They highlighted the following points:

  • Potential for small firms to make greater contribution to exports market

  • Finding customers remains the biggest challenge to small firms wanting to export

  • Established export markets – including Europe and North America – remain dominant but emerging markets are making headway.

Exports play an important role in the UK economy, influencing the level of economic growth, employment and the balance of payments. In the post-war period, lower transport costs, globalisation, economies of scale and reduced tariff barriers have all helped exports become  a bigger share of national income.

So why are there many companies so nervous about moving into International trade, I am often asked why I believe this to be the case and the simple answer is fear of the unknown.

My experience is that many companies feel there is insufficient support to help them establish new markets in unfamiliar countries, they worry about language issues, understanding cultural differences, and administrative end legislative challenges.

However there is help available from many sources such at the Department of International Trade, Banks, Chambers of Commerce and of course Independent advisers such as myself. It is our job to show that exporting need not be onerous and with proper planning and taking things one step at a time it can and will be very rewarding.

Many small business owners shy away from exporting at first because of the perceived costs of getting started, or because the export process seems too complex to navigate on their own.

A small amount of upfront investment and the pay-offs for your business can be significant. Notably, selling your products to a variety of international markets can help protect you from downturns in your domestic markets or in any one of the countries you sell to.

It can also increase your ability to compete domestically too. Awareness of your products and services will increase, you’ll learn new ways to promote your business domestically as you begin to market overseas.

Further, by trading in other countries you’ll learn more about foreign business practices, which will give you an edge when dealing with international firms in the United Kingdom.

Once you begin to establish yourselves Internationally  then exporting benefits can far outweigh the costs, but becoming successful requires commitment of resources – people and financial – as well as solid market research and planning.

The challenge, then, is not to convince UK businesses of the merits of exporting their goods and services. The challenge is to show them they are not alone and help is at hand.

Finally, from experience while travelling around the world, people like British products and services and will buy them. Don't miss out on the opportunity and of course if I can help I would be happy to hear from you.

 

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