How your business can start exporting

Zoe Bagnall
Content and PR Executive | Business West
13th January 2021

The logic is simple – if you spread your business across multiple markets then you help to avoid a situation whereby decreased demand or economic downturn in one market leads to potential cash flow problems or reduced overall profit for your business. 

Research by Capital Economics for UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency, shows that companies with only domestic customers grow less than those that export abroad. They found that businesses with domestic focus grew at 8.4%, compared to 15.2% for those that export.

If your business has not actively sold overseas before, it may seem like a daunting experience, but there is support available. So, how can you get started? 

Market research 

Before entering a new foreign market, it is essential to carry out detailed international market research and evaluate the target opportunities. This will allow you to confidently identify and approach potential customers with the correct knowledge to maximise sales and profit while developing long-standing relationships. 

At Business West, we offer comprehensive 1-2-1 and desk-based market research so that you can make the most of the opportunities available to your business. 

The support is available free of charge to eligible businesses based in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall through the Export Trade Development Programme or the Export Trade Forum. Other businesses can access the service on a commercial basis. For more information and how to get started, click here

Elevate your online presence 

Having a strong digital presence is becoming increasingly important, especially at a time when customers are spending more time online. According to a Salesforce survey, 85% of consumers carry out research before purchasing online, so an effective digital strategy is important for business growth and brand awareness. 

When trading overseas it’s also important that websites are localised to suit the culture and language of the market you are selling to. According to recent research, 65% of online consumers prefer content in their own language. At Business West, we offer support in the form of 1-2-1 sessions and masterclasses designed to help you optimise your online channels to build an international audience.

The support is available free of charge to eligible businesses based in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall through the Export Trade Development Programme or the Export Trade Forum. Other companies can get digital trade advice via their local International Trade Adviser (ITA) from the UK Government’s Department for International Trade (DIT). More information can be found here

Tailored export advice and support

Silicon Valley pioneer Eugene Kleiner stated that writing a plan for your business encourages you into disciplined thinking. An idea might sound good in your head, however a well-structured plan will make sure you’ve thought about all the possibilities, chosen a logical way forward and set targets to keep you on track. Therefore, having a robust export strategy is crucial for success.

To get you started on your export journey and to help you forge a plan for your overseas business strategy, you can enquire about organising an introductory a meeting with a Department for International Trade (DIT) International Trade Adviser (ITA) who will assess your trade capabilities and use their expertise to help you develop a plan, understand the competition, and overcome trade barriers. 

Export documentation 

Europe is the obvious first choice for many new or novice UK exporters and as of January 1st, 2021, businesses trading with the EU will need to complete customs declarations. Completing trade documentation for any market can be a complicated process, but we’re here to help.

Our award-winning International Trade Services team have years of experience in supporting businesses across the UK to complete trade documentation to ensure your goods are exported or imported on time and without complication. We can even complete documents on your behalf if internal resource is an issue. 

Your business can also access faster duty and VAT payments through our deferment account which will save you time and reduce stress. 

To find out about how trade is changing for businesses trading with Europe, read our blog which outlines these and how we can help. 

Get inspired with webinars and events

DIT is offering businesses trade support and advice to help firms grow their business overseas. 

DIT has recently launched a free support programme - The Export Academy – to give businesses the know-how to sell to customers around the world with confidence. The programme will feature educational events, independent learning, networking and group mentoring, and businesses will leave the course with a completed export action plan to take your business to international customers. Businesses can apply for this here. 

More webinars and programmes in a range of sectors will be announced in due course, but businesses can stay abreast of these by visiting this page. 

  • Find out how to get started

    Start selling your products overseas with our comprehensive support to help you every step of the way.

    Call our trade centre on 01275 370 944

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