Emil Strickland - thrive digital

Meet the judges: Emil Stickland, Thrive Digital

Ahead of the next Export Action Plan competition final, taking place at the Swiss Embassy on November 2nd, we’ve spoken to some the export experts who will be making up the judging panel.

In the second part from this feature, we speak to Emil Stickland from Thrive Digital

What are you most looking forward to about judging the Export Action Plan competition this November? 

I am looking forward to hearing from, and talking to, the finalists. The types of people who push to take their companies international are often inspiring, passionate, and even humbling. It is wonderful to hear about their journeys, and their plans for ongoing growth.

Why do you think competitions like this are so important for the UK’s exporters?

Competitions like this are important to UK exporters because, in my opinion, half the battle with export is starting. There are plenty of opportunities, from ecommerce to more traditional methods. However, sometimes the biggest hurdle is getting going. The Open to Export Award provides an incentive, and a blueprint. Meaning that not only does it encourage companies to think about export, but it gives them the toolset that enables them to do it.

Can you tell us more about the prize Thrive Digital are offering the winner?

One costly, and highly damaging, mistake that companies often make when exporting online is not to do proper market research. They translate their site so their target market can understand it, they put in place a CDN to ensure their content reaches the user quickly, they set up international payment gateways, and so on and so forth. When they get to the end of this expenditure, which can often be well into the six figures, they wonder why they don’t have any customers. They never properly looked into the market, the assumption is that if it works in your home country, it should work abroad. That is simply not the case.

Through various methods, and with a high degree of accuracy, we are able to establish market demand for a company’s products in international ecommerce markets. More importantly, we are also able to establish how this demand manifests itself, and are therefore able to develop a concrete strategy on how to meet it.

The prize will entitle the winner to a report, tailored for their company and ecommerce site, on what ecommerce markets are particularly relevant for them. It will then go on to give them recommendations on how they should approach these markets. We will also put them in touch with the right people to facilitate exactly what needs to be done to take advantage of the international ecommerce opportunity.

What 3 tips would you give to both the finalists and potential future entrants to the competition about what you look for in a winning export plan?

1.      Research

2.      Plan

3.      Test (and repeat)

For more information about the upcoming Export Action Plan final, go to the competition page here.

We are extremely grateful to Thrive Digital for the prize donation to the competition this year.

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