Export Bootcamp: Ten steps to export success

Mike Josypenko (the Director of Special Projects for the Institute of Export) gave a webinar for Open to Export on the key questions any business should be asking as they prepare to export their products.

These are some of the key points:

Prepare to export. Before exporting your product, you should have a strong base in the domestic market because you will need to dedicate even more manpower, time and finances if you’re going to sell your product overseas.

Finding demand for the product. You must take into consideration your Unique Selling Point (USP), whether your competitors export and if you’ve had any enquiries about your product from overseas.

Make your product suitable for export. You must analyse the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) of your product and consider what the undermining factors might be.

Consider what requirements need to be met to export. Your enterprise needs a stable business environment, the capacity to expand, experienced staff, financial support, a website and solid brand, and product awareness.

The first actions having assessed your product

  1. Identify new markets by finding out about routes into the market, possible barriers and variants of business culture/etiquette.
  2. Formulate an action plan: Plan to protect your IP, Trademarks, Patents and Copyrights.
  3. Sort out contractual issues such as payment terms and terms of delivery.
  4. Learn the required legal basics for example the Bribery Act 2011.
  5. Gain knowledge of customs and tariffs codes, export licences, VAT regulations.
  6. Find a good freight forwarder, who can advise on transport, documentation, regulation and customs.

Finding new customers. Talk to other non-competitive companies or seek help from UKTI (UK Trade & Investment) or OMIS (Online Market Introduction Service). Also you can visit overseas trade shows and exhibit trade missions.

Look for people who can help. There are multiple organisations willing to help such as UKTI, UKEF (UK Export Finance) and there are also membership organisations such as the Institute of Export, Chambers of Commerce and Trade Association.

You can watch the video of the webinar below, and check out our Recent Webinars page to access all the Open to Export webinars giving practical guidance and answers to all your exporting concerns.

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 level of added cost should you expect when you are looking to export? (31:45)

This depends on which market you are exporting to. Businesses can gain better rates overseas than in their own markets but in other markets, companies might decide to take lower rates to get an overall profit.

Should someone highlight the fact they are a British company, does it come down to which market you are in? (33:15)

Some companies market themselves as European companies and play down their British roots, however, this depends on the product or market. The UK has a very strong reputation not just in the traditional commonwealth countries but throughout the world.

What is the difference between a distributor and an agent? (35:01)

An agent is a person who acts on behalf of a business to develop a market for a product or service in a foreign country. Distributors are usually privileged or exclusive customers who resell your product, usually buying it in bulk and then distributing it.

Should you invest in translation? (36:20)

It is recommended to invest in a translator. Having an experienced native speaker translate instructions, technical guides, packaging and the website into the local languages will prevent poorly translated text being associated with your product.

For more information about all the different things to consider when selling overseas, check out our webinar archive.

Also read our articles on understanding the basics, assessing demand for your products and services and the role of translation when entering an international market for more details.

Export Action Plan