So you’d like to export your products and services, but are unsure of where to begin? We’ve put together this quick guide to help you and your company get export ready.
Things you need to consider:
RESEARCH YOUR MARKET
When you start to research the market you are looking to export to, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there a need for my product or service?
- What are the legal issues I need to consider when I start exporting?
- Is there an overseas demand for my product?
- Do I have the right resources to deliver this product?
Naturally, you are not going to know how to handle all of these practicalities straight off the mark, but one way to help find some answers is to go along to an overseas export event or trade fair.
Attending such events is a great way to familiarise yourself with your target market. It can also be a useful way of meeting people who can help distribute your product or service to market (as well as a potential opportunity to build a few prospects along the way). Trade and export events can also be a good way to find out more about the culture, export laws and business practices of the countries you wish to export to.
You can even source the team you need to help you on your way: a solicitor to advise you on international exporting laws; government agencies such as the UKTI, who can advise you about customs and trade laws; public sector organisations like COBCOE who can help with international trade promotion and agents in the Intellectual Property Office to help patent you product or service.
Doing your research not only provides the invaluable information you need to start planning your exporting activity, but can also give you an insight into your competitors and their position within the market. Some essential aspects to this research will be to understand the size of opportunity, how you might need to differentiate your product or service offering, and whether there is a demand or scope for your business in the existing market place.
SOURCE NEW SUPPLIERS
There are a number of considerations you should think about when it comes to your suppliers…Could you reduce costs & improve quality by changing suppliers? Will your existing suppliers cope with a growing international demand?
Practically speaking it may be worth sourcing new suppliers who are local to your potential export market.
CREATE AN EXPORT PLAN
Having completed this research and become familiar with the information you need to become export ready, it’s a good idea to create an export plan. This will help you focus clearly on how best to expand your business into new international markets.
You should try to include the following:
- An overseas trading marketing strategy
- The most efficient and cost effective distribution channels for your product or service
- Your business model (B2B, sales office, joint venture, etc.)
- Specific changes that should be made to your product or service before you start trading overseas
- Key contacts to help you develop your export market
- Details of your financial resources (including an insight into export finance and how your exporting activities will be funded)
Having identified your first overseas marketplace, you should think about the most efficient way to distribute your product overseas. Do you want to sell your product direct to your customers, online, or through an agent or a local distributor based where you want to market?
Your choice of distribution channel will be influenced by your product or services – it may prove more cost-effective to sell through other companies, rather than directly to the end-user? Either way, now would be a good time to identify and secure the most appropriate sales and transport routes.
Whichever path you choose to follow, make sure it helps keep overheads low yet still maintains product integrity and keeps your customers satisfied.
Close the Deal
SUPPORT YOUR CUSTOMERS
So your exporting plan is ready, and you have the best suppliers and distributors lined up for your business…now what?
In today’s economy, customer feedback can make or break a business’s reputation in an instant. Now more than ever is the time to be there for your customers, wherever and whenever they need you. It’s important to remember that a customer’s worth doesn’t change if they are located abroad. Therefore it is essential that you offer the same standards of customer service to your overseas customers that you would offer your UK market.
That is just smart business: by taking ideas and feedback from your international markets on board, you can improve and evolve your services to meet ALL of your customer’s needs.
NEED MORE INFO?
Are you looking for more in depth information on global exporting? Guidance as well as online information about exporting is widespread, so it is vital that you make the most of the knowledge that is available from experts.
This will be especially important given the ongoing global political changes as well as Brexit, for these will undoubtedly impact both European and global trading markets for UK exporters.
The UK Trade & Investment site is a great place to find support and you can also check out their #ExportingIsGreat campaign for more information as well as these key exporting resources.
– Your Local Business Support Advisors are key contacts to help and give advice on exporting.
– COBCOE helps businesses by promoting international trade across Europe.
– Your Local Chamber of Commerce can help with export documentation and finance.
– UK Export Finance provides trade finance and insurance for exporting.
– The Institute of Export gives advice, guidance, offers courses and qualifications.
– Kompass UK can help with global business data, sales intelligence and lead generation.
There’s a whole world of opportunity waiting for you. What are you waiting for?
Disclaimer: Please note that this blog only contains general information and insights about legal matters. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. Kompass.com