Small businesses can often be reluctant to sell and promote their goods overseas but with expert help and advice there is no reason to hold back.
Businesses across Yorkshire are being encouraged to take full advantage of the export-led recovery and gain a foothold in overseas markets.
As the economic recovery gathers pace, new opportunities are opening up for companies, of all sizes.
And Mark Robson, regional director for UK Trade and Investment in Yorkshire and the Humber, said exporting doesn’t have to be the reserve of bigger companies.
“When you think of exporting it’s easy to be put off. Mental images of crates stacked on cargo ships shuttling their way across the oceans is enough to give anyone the impression that exporting is only for the big guns – a distant dream for the future perhaps, but certainly not something for a small business to consider.
“However some people may already be exporting and not realise it. The fact is, as soon as you sell overseas, you’re exporting.
“This misconception is undoubtedly a factor in why some small businesses are shying away from exporting and thereby missing out on the bounty of demand for British goods and services out there.
“With developments in e-commerce, access to UKTI’s armoury of advice, funds and support and a good bit of old-fashioned business instinct the world really is your oyster.
“I want small businesses to know that exporting not only boosts your revenues, it can help your business become more resilient, more efficient and more profitable. Research shows that 59 per cent of companies who began exporting also saw it lead to a wave of innovation and fresh new ideas which enhanced their goods and services.”
He has set out tips to help companies take their business to the world, the most important being to seek help.
“Research shows that after just 18 months of working with UKTI, firms earn on average a massive £100,000 in additional sales.”
He also urged businesses to take things one step at a time.
“It will be tempting to pursue multiple markets at once, but it’s often best to focus on one or two markets at first.”
It is important to get to know the currency you will be dealing with, and speak to your bank and international trade adviser about letters of credit and export finance.
He said that failing to take into account different cultures could lead to damaging or costly mistakes, for example with using inappropriate packaging or marketing.
And it is important to be patient.
“Setting up overseas may not move as quickly as you expected. But if you remain patient the rewards will very soon make themselves known to you.”
Happily help is at hand. Banks such as RBS have a team of relationship managers, who are based locally, and can offer great support for businesses looking to move into the export market.
They can also draw on guidance from the RBS International Banking team, which has specialist skills and contacts.• RBS England & Wales is to be the future Williams & Glyn, a new bank for both personal and business customers with a particular strength in supporting SMEs.
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