Exporting is a critical element if the nation’s millions of businesses are to grow, create jobs and bolster the economy. With our long legacy of bringing the best of Britain to the rest of the world, it’s a mystery why the UK is currently facing a trade deficit.
Studies have repeatedly shown that businesses that make the leap into international markets reap the largest rewards. The 2015 British Chambers of Commerce annual trade survey results are one such example, highlighting the majority of current UK exporters (59%) recorded sales growth in 2014, despite stagnation in the Eurozone and the appreciation of sterling. This is why Sage has announced its partnership with the government’s Exporting is GREAT initiative to encourage more of its businesses to drive growth though exporting over the next five years.
The UK has a history of global trade, sits at the centre of the Europe Union’s 28 states, and has strong shared ties with the Commonwealth. In fact, with 2.2bn people in this market across 53 countries, there’s a great export opportunity for enterprises looking to take the next step in their growth in areas with a shared culture and language. For those with a penchant for more adventure, the BRIC markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China are all still growing rapidly.
Whatever markets inspire, support through financing and advice is available through UK Trade and Investment. However your biggest decision arguably may be choosing the right technology partner – as exporting is not without its challenges. Here are some of the golden rules to help your business achieve export success:
Technology is ultimately the backbone of an enterprise. A strong IT infrastructure can help you make the most of your business growth. The right business solution can operate with multiple currency values, multiple languages and keep you legislatively compliant without having to rely on multi-lingual staff to manage administrating the process. Cloud and hybrid cloud solutions can open up business data for employees across borders to access, use, and collaborate with in real time. Another element critical to success is a strong, reliable, and easy to use payments partner to keep you compliant with international financial regulations.
Financing your export
Financing ventures in new territories can be a barrier for businesses looking to spread their wings, but you’re not alone. As your trusted international technology partner, Sage offers scalable and flexible cloud business management solutions that require reduced CAPEX or OPEX investment. These will reduce the initial outlay for infrastructural IT provision and also enable businesses to streamline the manpower needed to maintain them. Additionally, the government has pledged to help businesses export, including financial support, through the comprehensive resource that is the UKTI.
Preparation is half the battle won
In the excitement of expanding, it might be easy to underestimate the administration and red tape involved in setting up your business overseas. It’s important to plan ahead by understanding the formalities you will need to comply with, when the deadlines are, and the regulatory bodies you’ll need to go through well in advance. This is where expert partners like the UKTI come in, to assist you in acquiring the knowledge and skills for the markets and businesses suitable for you.
Don’t take the eye off the ball at home
As an enterprise, it’s important to focus on nurturing your new business as it takes off and represents your growing brand. Often, your new export markets will offer you less margin, but be aware that even if you’re doing well in the new market, your core strength lies in your home base, so remember not to neglect your loyal customers at home. Doing so is a real risk to the core of the business. Having a 360 degree view of your business can be tough. A business management solution on the cloud can help keep tabs on each element of your operations in each market for enhanced visibility in a 24/7 marketplace.
Timing is everything
When working across markets, the shifting tides of the currency rates can either help or hinder you. Again, a reliable business management system that can juggle multi-currency values can update figures in real-time on the cloud for immediate action, helping you time your sales and purchases to make the most of favourable rates. Similarly, when you wish to bring money back home from foreign investments and bank accounts, if you can wait for the best rates (which often cycle somewhat predictably) you can make your hard earned cash work even harder.
A clear channel of communication
English is widely regarded as the international language of business, which can be a huge advantage for British businesses. Remember to keep communications open and clear, avoiding colourful colloquialisms that just don’t translate well. For example, it may not have the same impact if you tell a German client to keep all their eggs in one basket, or tell a Brazilian supplier that you’re backing the wrong horse. This is where banking on an internationally acclaimed technology solution can help, allowing your business, suppliers, and customers interact in multiple languages effectively.
Ultimately, exporting is one of the biggest steps your business will take, and possibly the most rewarding. Initiatives like Exporting is GREAT are geared to help address the barriers commonly faced by growing businesses looking to export. Considering the overwhelming global demand for British products, services and expertise, firms in the UK are primed now more than ever before to enter new, exciting markets and chart their own journey.
Find out more about the help out there for expanding your business overseas with Exporting is GREAT by visiting www.exportingisgreat.gov.uk. To learn how cloud solutions can form the foundation of your export-ready business, please visit www.sagex3.com.