Exporting as a Means for Growth

Business in You provides advice and signposting to further information for business just starting out or looking to grow. Advice covers everything from finance to mentoring, as well as exporting. Business in You partners with UKTI to provide business owners with the information they need to start exporting or improve their international trade. Business in You also aims to inspire entrepreneurs by sharing stories of other business owners, such as Katie Smith, who founded Tastes Marvellous to sell British food products to customers overseas. To ensure she was exporting properly and to maximum benefit for her business, she started working with UKTI early on. Here is Katie’s story:

A lot of people these days are now saying that exporting is the only reason for their company’s survival and that many people have been pushed to export not through choice, but through a necessity to ensure that their business maintains profitability, and of course that their business survives. At Tastes Marvellous we would not have a business if we did not acknowledge the millions of people elsewhere in the world who might just want some British food!  A company or a product cannot always rely solely on the population of the UK in order for them to flourish.  Other economies such as China, America, India, Brazil and South America, which all have increasing GDP per capita, are beginning to buy more products abroad as their internet access is getting better.  With such expanding markets available, it seems odd to me that people would not want to explore export opportunities.

I think that it was possibly the realisation that the UK economy is not in a brilliant place, as we all know, and that there are actually lots of other markets out there that can be explored, that made us choose to concentrate on overseas markets.  In order to increase our access to these markets, we are using Passport to Export—a UK Trade & Investment Programme. Through the programme you are able to access Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) reports, which is where an expert in the particular market you may be interested in will give you a report on that country and your particular market sector. They will tell you the market size, competition, whether you will be successful and where would be a good opportunity to sell your product in that market.  From this you can choose the market that you are going to concentrate on and, following the report, determine if you may need to change some aspects of the product, or change some business etiquette in order to run easily alongside another culture.

Exporting is hard work, and you need to ensure that you have all the right procedures in place to enable your company to trade overseas.  You need to make sure that your products will comply with another country’s customs regulations as you don’t want to mess with customs! You need to be prepared to have containers held up in ports as Customs haven’t cleared them yet, so don’t promise customers delivery within a particular time frame if you can’t be sure to keep it! The most important factor about exporting is to ensure that you can work in a different time zone. I have received emails from America, and they want an email back within half an hour or else!  So you have to make sure that there is a procedure in place to deal with customers with different timing expectations to those in theUK.

However, even though it is hard work, it can be really fun and of course like everything else, if it’s easy–it’s not worth doing!  Exporting is the route to survival for many UK companies and rather than approaching it with caution, people should embrace the change and accept it.

So don’t think it…do it!

For more stories about business owners facing challenges and finding success, or advice on growing or starting your business, visit Business in You.

Sectors: Food & Drink
Topics: Getting Started and Market Research
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Export Action Plan