[LARA MORGAN] During UK Trade & Investment’s (UKTI) Export Week, thousands of companies will be opening their doors to show the rest of the world why Britain is a great place to do business.
While some businesses are embracing exports and taking the world by storm, others are still getting it very wrong.
Why is it so important for British companies to push to export early on? Let me offer you some tips on how to make the most of exporting and what to avoid.
Many SMEs are missing a trick with the huge opportunities to export and many simply lack the balls to grow beyond these shores.
Too few British companies have the ambition and gumption to take their companies international. For some it might simply be ignorance but more often it’s a fear of failure. For them, the fact that failure is hard wired into the road to success has been completely overlooked! So expect it and don’t give up.
In many cases margins are better, the orders are bigger and the financial boost can help them improve their company stability at home.
Export companies attract better staff, have higher retention rates and show greater resilience in tough times. What is not to like about that?
Companies who export, improve skill sets of their teams to aid fast growth acceleration and I have seen huge cultural knock-on effects, not to mention the amazing experiences I’ve had building a company exporting to 75 countries by the age of 35.
Visit likely territories and find out if there is a market. Companies always look at the negatives of export markets when actually these factors can be quite the opposite – larger orders, upfront payment and growing markets. Plus, an English accent can get you a long way.
People don’t realise how good bank financial controls can be, and how willing banks are to help companies minimise export risk and get growth funding for export. British businesses’ approach to law and ethics is respected in nearly every corner of the world, so it is inexcusable not to have a go.
Focus on the bigger margin, larger volume opportunities. By opening accounts with the best client in town you’ll soon have the others following.
There is no need to spend money on expensive overheads. Lead by example, book an economy flight, get out there, do your research, solve problems and learn to sleep standing up – it takes practice but it can be done.
Maximise your pallet loads to minimise shipment costs.
DO NOT put your best people abroad and expect them to succeed fast. Employ locals in local territories – ideally taken straight from your major competitor in that land.
Are you an ambitious business or sales leader? Find out how to scale rapidly on my Business Accelerator Leadership Programme – more details at companyshortcuts.com/leadership
Read the KitBrix case study and see the impact on growth when you choose to impact in year one!
If you want to know more about exporting, take the next step – take a look at the UKTI website set up to support you : exportingisgreat.gov.uk
Lara Morgan is best known for growing Pacific Direct, from start-up to successful exit, 23 years later. She now invests her time in fast growth companies and represents UKTI as an Export Ambassador, having previously exported to 110 countries. Her vast experience and business knowledge includes specialisms in licensing luxury brands, manufacturing toiletries and selling to the hospitality environment through complex global distribution chains. She's also an expert in leadership and developing talent having learnt through her own experiences of employing 500 employees in an open fast growth sales culture.