The UK government (www.great.gov.uk) has been splashing on a major advertising campaign selling the potential of exporting, the tag line being “The demand is out there. You should be too.” They point to the fact that 85% of companies say exporting has led to a level of growth not otherwise possible. The value of the pound is also being flagged by business bodies as a reason to get out there and sell beyond these shores. So, can it be that simple?
There is no questioning that the demand is out there, that exporting will improve your business and there is benefit the local and national economy. Simple though? No. Exporting is something that every business should be considering whether selling human capital / knowledge, services or products. However not every business is prepared to develop the core strengths needed, make the technological / people investments, be patient and persistent before reaping the significant gains that will come.
What is needed to export?
There is no silver bullet, off the shelf solution to export, however there are some aspects that cover most of the bases:
a. Having a good business plan with analysis of potential, risks and input needed to reach the new markets. Above all what is the primary aim and strategic objectives driving the business
b. The right marketing strategy, how to build in market presence, be visible and ensure you know the market
c. A business development process and program that will build on the marketing efforts, be prepared to innovate, build the relationships, sell the business (not just the product), quantify everything
d. Strong leadership and the developing the skills within the organisation
e. Differentiate from the competition, what is the business unique selling point? May be that is the product, may be the price, the quality, the service method, the technology, the people. Whatever it is weave this into the story of the business
In a 2016 research piece on exporting the issues around exporting almost entirely were found to be perception bias on the barriers to export. The benefits gained in the credibility of your business, exposing the business to new ideas, growing sales, improving productivity and enhanced profits far outweigh the risks and adaptions needed. Go for it!