Have you considered the benefits of exporting for your business?
Put simply, the successful export of your products or services abroad will broaden and diversify your customer base and as a result you will not just be reliant on the potential and stability of the UK marketplace. Exporting can be very rewarding, helping a business to grow, increase profit margins and sales volume, reduce unit costs and potentially iron out seasonal fluctuations in local markets.
Trading internationally represents an enormous chance to expand and spread commercial risk, however setting up overseas business can involve expense in time as well as resources and capital, so it's important to consider carefully the factors and challenges it will involve.
Is your business fit to export?
The key to successful exporting is preparation, but just how prepared is your company? Whether you are looking to leap across the channel into Europe or considering expansion into markets further afield, it is worth considering these questions about whether your company is really global ready. This is a starting point and can perhaps help you focus on what you already have in place and what you will need to implement or find out in order to go ahead with your export plans.
- How unique is your product, will it need modifying & how competitive might it be internationally?
- Is there a demand for your product – who are your potential customers?
- Which are the best markets to start with and what are the main risks?
- Do you have the financial resource to help fund an overseas venture?
- Will you need to find overseas partners or potential distributors?
- How will you market and promote your products & services to a global audience?
- How will you transport your exports & what channels of distribution will you use?
One key aspect of doing business abroad successfully, is to do your homework thoroughly, when identifying and evaluating your target markets. By researching the country, industry structure and the existing competition you can assess whether there is a need for your product or service. This can also help you to identify whether modifications to your products or services will be needed and which markets you should focus on.
The road to exporting profitably can be a challenge and whilst it opens up a world of opportunities to grow your business, there will be barriers to overcome – from language & culture to paperwork & logistics. Being successful will rely on understanding how best to take advantage of the good sales opportunities that you’ve identified.
In addition as we find ourselves heading into the new world order post-Brexit, the global trading climate for the UK is undeniably one of change. But if you have a clear and focused vision of what you want to achieve, have researched your potential markets thoroughly, created a clear plan of action, with advice from the myriad of experts available, you should be able to enter the world of exporting confidently.
What about your distribution strategy?
A successful distribution strategy will look to identify the best sales channels for your company, helping you to operate effectively, according to your products & services and your business needs. It is vital that you manage these channels correctly, communicate clearly and build solid working relationships with any agents or distributors that you may appoint.
- What will be cost effective? It may prove more cost-effective to sell through other companies, rather than directly to the end-user. Your choice of distribution channel will be influenced by your products or services. For example a manufacturer of tools or office products, may prefer to sell overseas through wholesalers rather than to individual retailers or customers. Working with sales agents or distributors is a great way to expand your business, where the cost would otherwise limit your ability to reach overseas customers.
- You need to maintain control - Consider whether you need a channel that can showcase your product or provide installation or customer support. If you need to build a relationship with end-users you will want to maintain control of your sales channel. Working with agents or distributors also allows you to retain control on pricing and branding.
- The importance of building relationships - Being selective and working closely with a smaller number of distributors, may pay dividends as you can invest in each individually, perhaps providing product training which all goes to help build a strong relationship.
- Taking a strategic approach - You should consider distribution strategically in order to identify and minimise any conflict of interest. Selling your products online directly or through other online retailers could potentially compete with your own distributors. So it is important to consider how much support you offer them vs how much you invest in online sales channels.
Get Help & Advice from the Experts!
Guidance as well as online information about exporting is widespread, so it is vital that you make the most of the knowledge that is available from experts. This will be especially important in the light of Brexit and the impact this will have on both European and global trading markets for UK exporters.
– Use Kompass Business Data to research and find contacts in your target markets.
– Your Local Chamber of Commerce can help with export documentation and finance.
– UK Export Finance provides trade finance and insurance for exporting.
– B2BCentral works with partners to bring the benefits of B2B eCommerce to British SMEs.
– The Institute of Export gives advice, guidance, offers courses and qualifications.
– Build your brand & global online presence with Kompass Digital Marketing solutions.
At Kompass we have more than 60 years experience, helping businesses grow – providing our customers with business data to help improve the results of their sales and marketing activity and driving relevant enquiries through globally optimised company profiles from more than 7.5M Kompass users. Contact us to find out more about how we can help you as you plan your export strategy.
Our Kompass Export Zone builds on our business information expertise, by giving access to straightforward guidance on some of the key factors to consider when exporting, research advice and country specific market information. For more advice on getting started on your export journey, see our 10 Top Tips for Exporting Success.
Disclaimer: Please note that this blog only contains general information and insights about legal matters. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. Kompass.com