Businesses today cannot afford to stand still. If your company is not moving forward, it maybe going backwards but there are many ways to go for growth.
You could open another office location, license your product, diversify, acquire another business or, if you’re successfully selling your product or service in the UK, there is every chance that demand will exist overseas.
All the evidence shows that small and medium-sized businesses that export achieve higher turnover growth, innovate more and create more jobs; but exposure to international competition also brings challenges and risks.
The good news is that with the development of e-commerce, expansion of the internet and the wealth of specialist private and public sector support, exporting is getting easier.
International trade used to be regarded as the province of only large, long-established manufacturing companies but now a huge range of businesses across a wide range of sectors are finding their place in exporting helped by online marketplaces.
Web-based eBay reports that 90% of its commercial sellers are exporters and many can match the largest traders in the world in terms of their geographical reach.
A challenge for micro and small businesses is the need to appear big and established. E-commerce allows this. E-commerce is not the future of trade it’s here now and many small businesses see it as a pathway to exporting.
One long-established Yorkshire manufacturing business says it has successfully exported worldwide without actually meeting the final customer several times and the order values have been significant.
Britain is still a world-class manufacturer. “Made In Britain” remains highly regarded around the world where people also like how we do business. Although traditional exporting requires careful strategic planning, hard work, travel and a willingness to learn about other cultures, overseas markets are generally keen to trade with us.
Research shows that sales grow faster, more jobs are created, and staff usually earn more in exporting companies. They also cope better with upheavals in their economy, and are more likely to stay in business, than those that just sell domestically.
Exporting can also raise your profile and credibility, whether you target established partners, such as the EU and the USA, or remoter, high-growth markets such as Brazil, China, India, Colombia and Vietnam by accessing the huge amount of professional support on offer.
Ultimately, exporting is professionally and personally enriching. You will be exposed to new ideas, new sales and marketing techniques and different ways of competing that will be stimulating and may help you develop your products and services in ways you would not otherwise have discovered.
In virtually every respect, the challenges you expose yourself to by accessing overseas markets will make you raise your game and enhance your own and your company’s skills – and this can last forever.