All the knowledge, expertise, and experience of an in-house Export Department without the overhead
Whichever way you voted in 2016, Brexit is a reality, and in many ways, represents an amazing opportunity, particularly for UK SMEs, of which only approximately 20% currently sell their products and services overseas. In fact, only 11% of all UK businesses currently export, although this figure increases slightly to 15.2% when considering the Non-Financial Economy (ONS, 2015).
Why export?Exporting represents significant opportunities for UK SMEs looking to expand, grow revenues and increase profitability, we’ve listed just a few below:
- REVENUE AND PROFIT GROWTH: Looking beyond the UK’s borders can help companies optimise sales and revenues; increased demand delivers economies of scale, lower unit costs, and higher profits that would be impossible to achieve in the domestic market alone;
- DIVERSIFICATION: Exporting enables companies to diversify their offering, the result is an increased resilience to economic shifts and a more sustainable business;
- REDUCED RISK AND LONGER PRODUCT LIFECYCLES: Spreading customers across several markets and regions helps to spread business risk. If UK demand for a product or service begins to plateau, businesses with a global presence are more protected and typically enjoy longer product lifecycles.
Why don't more UK companies export?There are a number of challenges UK companies face when looking to trade beyond our borders. We’ve listed a few below:
- RESOURCE: Setting up an export operation is human capital heavy; pressures on capacity, production, and skill sets can be significant;
- MARKET DATA: Researching foreign markets is undoubtedly more challenging and resource intensive for a company than researching its own domestic market, particularly if it is looking to export to less developed countries where some data simply isn’t available;
- CULTURE: Understanding different cultures, ethical standards, negotiation styles, and ways of conducting business can seem very daunting to potential exporters;
- FINANCE: Trading internationally can involve upfront investment that can impact on a business’ cash flow. Furthermore, as it takes time to develop new markets, the return on this investment is not likely to be immediate.
The benefits significantly outweigh the challenges!
The fall in the pound (15%) has given UK manufacturers a real competitive and profit advantage. Foreign buyers need less currency to buy our goods therefore exporters can choose to sell their products cheaper to gain a competitive edge and/or increase their margins to increase the profitability of their export operation. Exporters of quality, yet generally inexpensive goods and services which are more price sensitive than manufactured clothes or heavy goods products, will fare particularly well.
The uncertainty surrounding Brexit may have dissuaded some companies from progressing with their international trade plans, however this really shouldn’t be the case. There is considerable pressure to raise exports before the UK formally leaves the EU, this is a priority for the UK government, and we will see business incentives emerge over coming months that will help achieve this. Furthermore, there is increasing talk of the government introducing an Export Tax Credit. This would apply to both exported goods and services to help cover cost of exporting.
There are big opportunities beyond our borders, particularly in non-EU countries. The “Made in Britain” brand commands respect and achieves a price premium. Recent research conducted by Barclays Bank concluded that overseas customers are willing to pay up to 7% more for British goods, this is especially true in new and emerging markets where 64% stated they would be more inclined to purchase a product carrying the Union Flag. In addition to this, the UKTI publishes a new export opportunity every 37 minutes, and this is only set to increase as more UK companies enter the global stage.
Many companies are already testing the water, whilst others have been reaping the rewards for some time. A survey carried out by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) reported that: more than 75% of export-oriented businesses are profitable; 85% of businesses said that exporting helped them grow to a level not otherwise possible; 79% said conducting business abroad had helped them achieve fuller use of their existing capacity; and 66% said that trading overseas led them to fresh business ideas and innovation, upgrading their products and services.
There is huge demand beyond our borders, let us get you exporting!
How can the Export Department help me?
We are 100% flexible and outcome-focused, it is all about what works best for you and your company. We can engage with you in whichever manner promises to deliver the greatest reward to your business; that could be managing your entire new market launch from research through to market entry; or undertaking key activities to help bolster your resource and speed things along; or simply being there for you in a mentoring capacity to help facilitate a smooth and successful project. Below you will see a list of the kind of export services we provide.
If exporting is something you are thinking about, or if you just want to learn a bit more about it, get in touch with us for a no obligation exploratory discussion.
Expanding your business overseas is a thrilling prospect with a potentially huge pay off, and it needn’t be the “big and scary” move you imagine.
Drawing on international trade and market research experience accumulated over some 20 years, we can work alongside you offering honest and constructive feedback throughout each step of your journey. We can provide fresh insight and new perspectives, whilst also sharing useful contacts and passing on invaluable knowledge and expertise.
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Via one or a series of meetings, we conduct an Export Readiness Audit to determine whether your company’s current infrastructure and portfolio can meet the requirements of international trade. Amongst other criteria, we examine your motivations for exporting; your branding; your product readiness (versatility, differentiation, potential compliance issues); your available skills, knowledge, and resources; your existing processes; your competitiveness (domestic market performance); your capacity to fulfil overseas demand (via existing inventory, other source, etc.); and your financial situation (ability to invest in associated upfront costs, management of cash flow, sensitivity to exchange rate fluctuations, payment systems, etc.).
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A combination of desktop and field research provides the most reliable data on target markets for international trade. In addition to online media, we utilise several databases, trade body contacts, and oversees connections to enable us to deliver comprehensive analysis of potential markets and their suitability for your business.
We also provide insight into the most appropriate routes to market based on your company’s portfolio and infrastructure (direct, agents/distributor, franchise, etc.); and provide primary data via surveys, interviews and market visits where possible (trade shows, independent visits with/without customer meetings, and trade missions).
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Which market? When? To what scale? We can devise your export strategy assessing your available resources (human and financial); your competitive strengths and limitations; market barriers to entry; compliance, legislation, licenses and tariffs; degree of adaptation your product/service requires; and your chosen route to market and promotional strategy.
We can then encompass that strategy into an Export Plan with quantifiable objectives, scenario planning, and immediate, medium and long-term actions. An export plan is essential if you are to grow within your capability and ensure that domestic and international marketing activities are aligned. It is also a prerequisite to consultations with banks, financial advisers and government agencies.
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We can manage the internationalisation of your messaging and communication (marketing copy and product data translation) and the internationalisation of your website if selling direct via online channels (inc. set up within suitable marketplaces, social media strategy and deployment, etc.); we can prepare for customs and licensing requirements; establish payment terms and arrange methods (INCOTERMS, exchange rates, pricing strategy, documentation, financing options, credit insurance, etc.). We can also manage lead generation and opportunity identification inc. sourcing of distributors and agents, quotation/proposal writing or review, contract generation or review, and after-sales support set-up.
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We can produce and manage all relevant documentation related to your product shipment, and we can select and liaise with freight forwarders on your behalf.
We can create and implement marketing initiatives with distributors and agents to raise your profile within their operation, further strengthen the trading relationship, and drive more sales in the territory.
Following market entry we can conduct customer research to identify how well your products/services are being received, and advise of any modifications or adaptations that could be made in order to increase market penetration.
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International trading knowledge, expertise and experience, WITHOUT the overhead!
What are the benefits to me and my business?
- SPEED TO MARKET: We have the resources to begin your international trade journey immediately whereas setting up the facility in-house will involve months of costly hiring, training, and support provision. As with any new project or process, you run the risk of errors, some of which can be costly; our knowledge and experience eliminates the majority of this risk and contributes to a smooth market launch;
- SKILLED RESOURCE: You have immediate access to knowledgeable and expert resource, without the expense of recruitment, training, and loaded employee costs. Our experience will give you confidence to extend your reach to markets you maybe hadn’t considered before;
- REDUCED LABOUR COSTS: Recruiting and training staff for short-term or specialised projects can be very expensive. By outsourcing your export activity to us, you are reducing your employment costs and increasing productivity simultaneously, which in turn bolsters profit;
- FREE TO FOCUS ON CORE BUSINESS: We help ensure your business is expanding internationally whilst your domestic business flourishes. The time involved in exporting is significant and core business activities can suffer as resources become overstretched. We enable you to prioritise, and focus your energies on core activities like further developing your brand and creating higher value added products and services that can benefit both your domestic and international customers;
- COMPETITIVE EDGE: Larger companies in your sector will likely have their own internal exporting department. We can help you level the playing field by providing access to the same economies of scale, efficiency, and expertise that they enjoy;
- REDUCED RISK: As with all new ventures, expanding internationally carries an element of risk; competition, government regulations, financial conditions, etc. can all change very quickly. Our experience has made us very adept at avoiding risk and effectively managing it in areas where it cannot be avoided;
- YOU RETAIN FULL CONTROL: Your company retains full steer and budgetary control over the direction of your international operation i.e. you approve all distributor relationships, routes to market, scale and speed of expansion, brand and promotional activity, etc. We advise on best course of action, and we deliver per the agreed plan, but this remains your business. As our client, we will always act in the best interests of your company, but you retain full control throughout;
- COST EFFICIENCIES: The overheads of running a business today are already significant. We take time to understand your products/services, sector, target customers and their preferences, etc. We then deliver the relevant expertise and manage the full workload of an in-house export department at a fraction of the cost you would incur by setting up an internal operation;
- INCREASED EFFICIENCY: Years of experience and a thorough understanding of the international trading process enables us to be more timely and efficient in even the most complex of exporting projects. We add to your competitive stance by getting your proposition to market swiftly and successfully with minimal impact on your time.