Britain abroad undoubtedly has far a greater head start in building business relationships than nearly any other country. Why?
The English language is the language of global trade. Imperial Britain was largely responsible for establishing the first international trade routes, shipping ports and wrote most of the law. Also, more now than ever before, it is less costly to get on a plane and visit most European countries than to buy a train ticket to Manchester.
Simply put, there is just no excuse to NOT sell abroad!
Overseas we are most generously welcomed, I have personally, experimented with our British impact in over 84 countries – never have I felt anything other than comfortable, finding an overwhelming respect for our legal, democratic, political systems and stability. Why else do we attract so much foreign investment into the UK? We are trusted abroad and yet the Brits seem to distrust as an automatic default which means we miss out on potential global growth. Complete madness in my opinion, business does not grow unless you wish to TRUST.
Albeit, I had a greater experience of foreign lands and travels having grown up abroad and I accept that to others, the idea of getting on a plane to a foreign land may be daunting.
My advice – Do not let this hold you back. Get outside your comfort zone, gain the enormous benefits new places, new foods, new experiences and new nationalities will expose to you…AND have sales conversations abroad that allow you to learn about how your product and service will perhaps be sold at higher prices overseas in less developed lands.
Commercially, once I had broken into my first account in the Middle East, I shipped direct from my manufacturer GBP 16,800 worth of goods on one single invoice which was paid for in advance, under a pro-forma terms of trade verses my then average order invoice despatch in UK for 6 cartons at GBP 648.00 – surely that is incentive enough to take an extended holiday.
Can it really be true that a recent article by the Federation of Small Business Voice magazine suggests small businesses should focus locally when the wider global world through digital, the internet and some really terrific low cost airlines has become a very local place?!
It’s this insular approach that makes my blood boil!
There are also returns to be had in sourcing supplier benefits, particularly in trade companies. When my company Pacific Direct was just a few months old, I visited Hong Kong, following research through the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and exchanged emails, before visiting Richard Lam, a slipper manufacturer whom is now a life-long friend. (He just reminded me of this fact after 20 years of contact.)
I was only 23 years old, and I explained to Richard, what I was trying to achieve through my ambition to meet hotel customer needs and in doing so we developed a slipper manufacture style that he had never tried before – giving me a market leading innovative slipper and price point that allowed Pacific to accelerate the pace of it’s success.
So what can you do?
Go on, be local (keep your costs down and run your business on a boot strap) but please, please think and behave global. If you love what you do and are proud of the product or service you offer, why would you restrict the opportunity of more customers benefitting from what you do
Think big, think global and I promise, you will be delighted to reap what you sew.
For more information on trading globally from the UK contact UK Trade & Investment http://www.ukti.gov.uk
To watch a keynote video of Lara talking on the subject of going global and her experience of trading in over 110 countries watch here …
Lara Morgan is the straight talking, no nonsense entrepreneur who is best known for growing Pacific Direct from start-up through to successful exit 23years later. Her vast experience includes first hand knowledge of manufacturing, licensing, export and global sales as well as leadership and developing entrepreneurial talent.
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