This week’s guest blog comes from Konrad Kubacki, Business Services Manager for the British Polish Chamber of Commerce.
My top tips for export success – the LG Harris story – You’ll lose your hair sooner!
Over the past two years, I have been proud to be working with Nigel Gardiner-Harvey to help his company enter the Polish market. LG Harris & Co Ltd is a leading British manufacturer specialising in paintbrushes and decorating tools famous for their quality, innovation and design, coupled with great value prices. The company successfully supplies millions of decorators around the world and proudly holds the Royal Warrant, which recognises its products for their high quality and reliability.
BPCC Trade worked with LG Harris to find the best route to market strategy and helped open doors to the right buyers in the market. We recognized that entering a foreign market can be difficult, with challenges including overcoming language barriers and identifying key contacts, but our support did not stop there. Exporting is a long-term commitment and finding the right partner is only the first step to success. Nigel, as an experienced exporter, fully understands this. It took over a year and numerous market visits to build a network of direct and indirect contacts and set the stage for the introduction of the company’s products into the market.
Furthermore, to build sales, an exporter must invest in raising his profile in the market. To achieve this, LG Harris and BPCC Trade joined forces with Binaria, a local PR and marketing agency, and undertook the mission of creating a brand awareness strategy. The first step was to launch a dedicated Harris website in the local language.
Harris products appeared on the Polish market for the first time during the recent BUDMA trade fair in Poznań, where LG Harris also chose to hold the world premier of its newest range of brushes and paint accessories – Express. The main theme ‘Royal Quality of Painting’ and ‘You will lose your hair sooner’ (than a Harris brush) attracted a huge amount of interest from trade fair participants.
LG Harris products hit store shelves in the second half of 2016, and as a result Polish consumers will soon enjoy these high quality paintbrushes and paint accessories already available in many markets worldwide.
BPCC Trade has built a close and long-term relationship with LG Harris, providing support in all stages of the market entry process, which was well received by Nigel, who said: “Based on the experience that we’ve had with the BPCC, I would not only advise other companies to use them to gain market entry, it’s almost a must!”.
My experience in working with this great company allows me to share with you what I have learned along the way. These are my top tips on what it takes to be a successful exporter:
- Focus on the long term: Exporting is never a quick one-off deal, building a presence in the market can take months or even years.
- Assemble a team: Even if you are a small company just beginning to export, you will need to have at least one person dedicated to this process.
- Secure a budget: Exporting not only requires investment of your time, but also resources, which will include market research, market visits, and supporting your local distributor with sales promotion, and other things.
- Visit the market: Understanding the market, building a network of contacts, as well as conducting business negotiations is vital and will require you to show your face on many occasions.
- Attend trade events:Participating in trade events can give you hands-on knowledge about the market, competition, and a chance to meet businesses.
- Support your local partner: Backing your local partner with promoting your brand is key to increasing sales and market share.
- Translate your offer: Translating marketing materials into the local language your customers will truly understand will be appreciated by all businesses that you approach and prove your dedication to entering the market.
- Be flexible: Listening to market feedback and adapting your product and packaging to the local market can make a real difference.
- Be persistent: Do not hesitate to try again if you don’t succeed after your first visit or don’t receive feedback immediately after your first meeting with a potential partner in the market.
- Look inside: If you employee someone who is from the country you are interested in, do not hesitate to allow that person to share their knowledge of the local market and culture, or to assist you with contacting local businesses.
I hope you will find these tips useful and the LG Harris story inspiring. If you are interested in exporting to Poland and would like to discuss how BPCC Trade can help you in this process, please get in touch.
Konrad Kubacki Bio
Konrad Kubacki is the Business Services Manager of the British Polish Chamber of Commerce Trade Team (BPCC Trade), which is part of the UKTI Overseas Business Network. As a Business Services Manager Konrad currently leads BPCC Trade making sure market entry projects are delivered according to the best standards, with over 1500 UK companies significantly assisted since August 2013. Konrad also specialises in supporting British exporters with high quality market consultancy services.
Konrad is a graduate of the Warsaw School of Economic and previously a Project Coordinator at the Warsaw University of Technology, where he led a team of specialists to commercialise Intellectual Property, incubating R&D spin offs and increasing B2S cooperation.
British Polish Chamber of Commerce
The British Polish Chamber of Commerce (BPCC) is a bilateral chamber dedicated to increasing two-way trade and investment between Poland and the UK. Since 1992 it has been supporting UK exporters entering the Polish market, Polish exporters entering the UK market, Polish entrepreneurs in the UK and investors looking at both markets.
Since July 2013 BPCC has been working with UK Trade & Investment to help British companies trade with Poland and are proud to be one of the leading markets in the Overseas Business Network Initiative. As a chamber accredited by the British Chambers of Commerce and COBCOE, the BPCC can guarantee a level of service that leads to tangible business results.