Do your research
Before you commit to exporting you need to honestly assess your company’s export potential - both in terms of the business and the product or service you are looking to sell. Detailed market research is key to identifying and evaluating the target market. UKTI for example, can provide focused business advice and helps you assess whether there is a market for your goods.
Plan, plan and plan again
After completing your market research, you can draw up an export plan defining how you will enter the new market.
Some important things consider in the planning process include:
- A clear marketing strategy that incorporates international trade development and the necessary financial resources needed.
- The right people to develop the new export markets and adequate knowledge of the requirements of your chosen market - e.g. modifying packaging to meet local regulations and standards.
- An understanding of export payment mechanisms and export finance.
- Selling and distribution in overseas markets. i.e. How will you organise your sales presence in export markets through direct selling, a strategic partner, a distributor, a sales agent, or your own local office?
- How will you market your products? You'll need to appreciate the traditions, culture and legislation of the countries you are trading with to exploit your exporting efforts and customise your marketing efforts accordingly.
- An understanding of legal obligations as an exporter. You'll need to familiarise yourself with the VAT rules administered by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
With exporting identified as an important driver in the UK economic recovery it is definitely worth considering. Careful research and planning may appear time consuming in the beginning but are vital in avoiding any potential problems further down the line.
Further advice and tips are also available in our guide to export.