If you are toying with the idea of exporting or selling abroad, it can be daunting. Where do you start? Where do you target? How on earth do you go about collecting payments? The questions are many.
Luckily however there is a lot of help out there inclucing Open to Export! Initially you should be talking to your local chamber of commerce, UKTI or the Institute of Export. They will be able to give you all the advice and guidance you need.
In the meantime however, here’s 5 very simple things you can do to get the export ball rolling….
Before taking any sort of leap of faith into a new market or even into exporting, go and research the export sector. Do as much research as possible. There are many export events, exhibitions and fairs held every year across the UK. The best thing to do to get started is to attend some and talk to the experts who are ready to help and advise you. Once you feel confident in your product/service/company and its export potential you can then proceed with vigour!
One of the biggest fears business owners have who have not operated outside their own country is the fact that every country operates differently in some way – particularly with regards to laws, guidelines and processes. The worry is that they will inadvertently fall foul of government legislation and perhaps end up with a fine before they’ve really got their teeth into their new venture.
One of the most important aspects of operating overseas is the protection of your trademark and so it’s a good idea to talk to a trademark attorney about registering your assets. If you have any UK based patents they will not be valid outside the country so to protect yourself and your invention talk to a Patent Attorney lawyer to apply for a European or worldwide patent.
Drawing on the knowledge and know-how of peers will be invaluable to your initial export effots. Get out there and network. Join your local chamber, attend events and if you can even try out a market visit. Get your business cards ready, get out there and sound out who is who. Once your contact book is nice and full you’ll soon realise the benefits of having all these useful people on your side.
You’ll need to talk to your bank as part of your plans to start an export arm of your business. Ask to speak to an international banking expert about credit, insurance and bonds in order to minimise the risks of operating your finances abroad. Make sure you have a strategy with regards to things like pricing, delivery, foreign exchange, money transfer and all areas of finance that will impact your business.
Localised web presence
There’s every chance you’ll already have a fully operating website, but for reaching into new territories you will need to think about website localisation. This means creating a website which is fully translated, provides information which is culturally relevant, is written in a way which is meaningful to those who you want to attract as customers and is full of localised graphics and images. Your international website should also contain high quality and relevant marketing content to raise your brand profile and to begin to instil customer loyalty.