The first few steps in Exporting…

Do you want to start exporting and don’t know what to do next? Does the thought of trading overseas send a small shiver down your spine? What is there to worry about as there is plenty of help for businesses who aspire to selling to international markets?

I was appointed export manager to a small company in 1998 and 15 years ago to this date I sat on my desk on my first day wondering what to do next. We sold specialists gloves in competition with European makers and had aspirations to grow worldwide and on that day all we had was a phone, pen and paper and plenty of enthusiasm. No internet and no computer! Two years later two years later we were exporters to over 60 countries and an international turnover of £2 M and a fledgling US operation.  This is a synopsis of what I did and the three tips to start the ball rolling for those companies who aspire to exporting.

First steps

Let’s start with the absolute obvious….business is built on relationships, but somehow it tends to get overlooked and you have to form relationships with people in the countries you wish to export to. If you have none, it’s time to seek them out. Start with who you know that does business in the countries you’d like to do business in. They could be an excellent resource for making acquaintances in other countries and growing your export business.

Many are finding success with social media sites liked Linkedin for building relationships in other countries. But social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook can be blocked in China and some other countries. It’s much better to personally meet with potential distributors or clients to whom you want to export.

UKTI is a great resource for finding such business connections around the world to help you grow your export business.

Try to learn as much as you can about the culture of the countries that you wish to export to as a little knowledge can go a long way in building strong business relationships and find out what you can from others who know the cultures where you want to do business and clients and partners who successfully do business where you want to grow your export business.

Here is a interesting thought that for existing exporters it is probably better to focus on how you can take care of your current customers better and how you can be more effective in a region to which you already export could be much more profitable than exporting to a new region. The same rules apply to companies whose business does not extend beyond the white cliffs of Dover.

The old adage of reduce some of the extra things you do and focus on what you do best… just continue to pursue being the best at providing your customers with what you do. This focusing could result in expanding your client base in a particular region or make it much easier for you to export to other regions as well.

The #exporthub from the UKTI is on the move across the UK and so valuable advice can be gleaned with a whole series of seminars. It could be a very helpful platform for helping you decide to take the export plunge. But if you want practical help from a team who have been there and done it and go the T Shirt then please visit our website


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