Take a look at a map of the world for a moment, and notice how small the UK is compared to the rest of the globe. If you are not exporting your product you are limiting yourself to a tiny proportion of the world’s population when it comes to your available market.
I was recently featured in a video regarding exporting, which you can see here:
If you are still in doubt, here are 10 reasons you should be exporting your product overseas:
- It’s not as daunting as it sounds. With the internet, low cost airlines like EasyJet and communication products like Skype it’s easier than ever to keep track of overseas operations. It’s also really easy to fly to these places without any fuss or bother. Don’t allow the idea of Brexit to scare you; in fact, allow it to incentivise you.
- British products carry a lot of prestige abroad. People love to see that Union Jack flag on a product, with a “Made in the UK” label; to people across the globe, British products represent quality and luxury. You may well find that your product sells much better abroad than it ever has here; why would you risk missing that opportunity?
- Exporting reduces seasonality. If you sell bespoke garden furniture or winter coats, you really only have about half the year when your product is of use to people in this country. If you export to a country on the other side of the world, their seasons will compliment your naturally slow months in the UK – you will no longer have 6 months of scraping to make ends meet followed by 6 months of fighting to fulfil orders on time. With increased profits you can hire more staff and make your business much more streamlined and cost effective.
- Keep up with the competition. Most if not all of your competitors are probably already exporting their goods overseas. This means they have a higher turnover and probably also higher profits which means they’re probably more attractive to potential clients in this country. Don’t let them take your piece of the pie; if you believe your product is better than theirs in this country, why should it be any different in another country?
- Improve your productivity. When you’re exporting to different countries your entire company structure will change. You will come up with new, better ways of doing things in your business, which will only serve to improve your overall productivity. Research has shown that exporting really helps to improve efficiency and profits for a business.
- Spread your risk. When the hospitality market turned on its head because of foot and mouth disease in the late 1990s, Pacific Direct was saved by business growth in the Middle East. They bought in bigger volume drops, paid in advance by pro-forma and gave us huge new opportunities.
- A new challenge. Entrepreneurs always enjoy a new challenge; once you’ve got your business up and running, you will of course still have the day to day concerns of running a business. But nothing beats a continual ambition to grow. It will keep you, your team and your service sharp.
- There is more support available than you think. There are numerous websites out there to offer you help and advice along the way; it’s not like you’ll just be flying to China without a clue what you’re doing. Take a look at the government’s UK Trade & Investment site or Open to Export for all the advice and assistance you could ever need. Currently Gate8-luggage, one of my investments, is meeting airlines in India thanks to the London Mayor’s visit.
- Learn about different cultures. The world is a big place with a wonderful diversity that we miss out on if we’re only ever selling in one country. I find it utterly fascinating to find out about different customs across the world, and what better way to learn than in a business environment. You may surprise yourself and find your service and skills have higher value and deeper margin possibilities abroad.
- Become a better employer and attract better employees. If you can offer your staff the chance to travel to different countries, perhaps even work in those countries, you instantly become a much more desirable employer. You will attract the kind of people who want to explore the world with you; those that solve problems and build resilience capabilities which will all strengthen your core proposition.
Exporting your products needn’t be a scary prospect; there is plenty of help and support available. We are unbelievably lucky that English is the language of business all over the world, and in all my years of travelling I have only once been scared: when I stupidly arrived in Mexico City at 2am one morning.
Once you begin exporting, you’ll wonder why you ever waited so long!