Export Bootcamp | How We Did It: Hear It From Champion Exporters!

Webinar posted by William Barns-Graham, on behalf of Open to Export

This webinar presents two success stories for first-time exporters to aspire to. Stephen Turner (Group 55) discusses his multi award winning product Animology and Bill Brown (Angloco), the chief executive of a fire-fighting and rescue equipment manufacturer, gives insight into the growth of his business. Through this webinar, you will be able to learn some key export lessons – how to get started, what resources you need and what export strategy to take

The key takeaways:

Group 55

Group55 (established in 1999), was an ecommerce company selling pest-control products. After a SWOT analysis they deduced that anti-flea spray would be very successful and in 2010 they launched anemology which now sells in over 30 countries.

Preparation and research was required to ensure success. For example they researched incumbent products in the market, packaging requirements, IP protection and took advice from anywhere they could, including UKTI and multiple trade associations.

Their marketing plan included packaging with 5 to 7 languages (and even more when exporting to China or Saudi Arabia). This also included their website, social media and international branding control.


Angloco (founded in 1965) is a company which manufactures and supplies fire-fighting and rescue vehicles and equipment. It is a private owner business which now has customers in over 50 countries worldwide and turnover of around £18 million annually.

Preparation was key in order to react quickly to supply opportunities that arise, they streamlined their product range, as virtually every market they deal with faces a different set of challenges and regulations.

Research was also incredibly important, they visited markets and exhibitions, held demonstrations, worked with local partners and asked for advice from UKTI, the Chamber of Commerce and trade associations.

Questions and Answers

Here are some of the questions asked by the attendees at the end of the webinar. The times in which the questions were asked have also been given.

What is ‘international invoice factoring’? (14:24)

When you are required to pay upfront to do business with a large retailer, you can present an invoice to the bank who can lend you a sum of money. After the transaction the retailer will repay the sum to the bank and you will receive a percentage of the sale.

Which market did Group55 start with and why did they choose it? (17:50)

The first trade show we went to was in Germany. The aim was to get enquiries from 2 or 3 countries, and instead we received enquiries from 50 countries. Obviously the list had to be shortened and the easiest markets were selected mostly in Europe such as France and Spain.

When product requirements differ, when engaging with different suppliers, is it most cost effective to turn down some of this business? (40:02)

Angloco rejects a lot of orders from other countries, sometimes because the local workforce is able to do the job for a fraction of the price. The key is to be selective when choosing a market and to have a strong knowledge of that market.

What are your tips for the boosting the performance of regional representatives? (41:58)

You must speak regularly to your regional representative – keep constant contact. Also visiting as often as possible and having multiple meetings helps with team building and keeping everyone in the loop.

How do you have deal with different cultural considerations? (45:25)

In some cultures outside of Europe, you must be prepared for time lapses where people miss appointments and you will wait around for hours before meetings. Do not be insulted, this is just a cultural difference.

What are your top 3 tips for international trade? (50:16)


  1. Work with your distributors and treat them as partners – it is important to invest time here.
  2. Languages are extremely important – have the capacity to communicate with your customers and partners
  3. You must be prepared to adapt and change despite having done copious planning.


  1. Visit the markets, to find out what are their customs and if there is a market for your product/service.
  2. Make sure you are clear what you expect from your partner.
  3. Make sure you get paid!