If there was one thing you would do differently when entering export, what would it be?
Hi Richard, a very thought provoking question. We offer a professional service (translation services, specialising in the food and drink sector and general retail), so our approach to export is likely to be quite different to yours when selling product, but I think there are some issues common to all exporters. Here are my top things I’d do differently:
1) Work more online, its quite easy to get passive exports if you have a great website and have a niche product.
2) Better market research, I wasted time and energy on some markets which are not easily going to convert.
3) Better understand culture: we’ve done quite a lot of work directly for US clients, it is easy to be lured into thinking that you have a common business culture because you share a common language, their approach to business is very different.
4) Refine your offering, we convert more easily in areas where we have specialist expertise such as food label translation, the danger in international markets can be not standing out from the crowd. How is your product, different/better than the competition?
5) Sense check advice: we’ve got a lot of support from UKTI, but have wasted effort in some instances looking at markets which are difficult to break into, e.g. I was sold the idea of attending a trade mission to Singapore, great country, some valuable incite gained, but overall a waste of resources, when I could have better targeted easier markets, e.g. close EU countries, especially Ireland, which has a big food and drink sector, as you are probably aware.
Hope this helps.