Exporting can boost your turnover and reduce your dependence on UK-based customers. Moving into export is a big step - it's important you consider whether your business is ready for the challenge.
This briefing tells you how to prepare for successful exporting. It covers:
Before committing resources to exporting, you should assess your business' exporting potential.
You can apply for Europe-wide protection through the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
Will you sell directly to small businesses, to a wholesaler or distributor, or via a sales agent?
Maintain regular contact with the agent and keep them informed of new product developments.
You need to understand the culture of your would-be markets to establish a successful relationship with your customers.
Customisation of your product or service to the market is essential. Ensure your business observes local traditions, beliefs and customs.
Analyse local cultural meanings behind your product brands. For example, bicycles might be perceived as a leisure item in one country but as essential forms of transport elsewhere.
Evaluate your marketing strategies. The latest thing in the UK might already be old news elsewhere - or too new to take off.
Speaking the language of your potential customers can establish mutual confidence. It's a good idea to avoid colloquialisms and metaphors in promotional material - they could be embarrassing or offensive when translated into the local language.
Take into account that this may restrict your sales growth.
Carefully consider the risks of bridging finance. If your customer does not pay, can you afford to shoulder the burden of non-payment?
For a small fee they will pay around 80% of the value of your invoices.
Contact the British Insurance Brokers' Association on 0870 950 1790 to find a broker.
Make sure you have the administrative capacity to fulfil any legal obligations (see 1.4).
For help on documentation, contact HM Revenue & Customs on 0845 010 9000.
To find a freight forwarder contact the British International Freight Association on 020 8844 2266.
Get online advice from the Packaging Society