For those of you on the periphery of export and particularly for those yet to try, the best time to export is …. NOW!
I’m going to give you some common responses I get when I suggest exporting to companies; followed by reasons you shouldn’t be saying the same…
“But I’m too busy looking after the UK market”… The problem with this statement is that it means having all your eggs in one basket.
I work with a company who had a 30/70 export/domestic split in 2008. Then came the crash… and their UK market dried up … overnight. As they already had relationships overseas, they used these to grow their overseas markets. They now export 70% of their products and only 30% of production is for the UK market.
This flip in their sales pattern allowed them to survive a very tough time and to thrive in more favourable trading circumstances. It’s worth finding the time now to diversify into other markets and spread your risk.
“But I don’t make a product”… That’s no problem and in fact, if you’re dealing in the digital world, you are born global and ready to export as soon as you start trading.
Let me give you just a few figures from 2014 from the Office of National Statistics (the last year I could get figures for both total exports and service exports) – in the North West, we exported £43.209bn in total and of that figure, £17.449bn was services and our service exports are increasing year on year.
So, if you have a service offering, please start thinking about what you can offer overseas clients. For those dealing with products, have a think about how you can use e-marketplaces (Amazon, EBay etc.) to expand your current sales figures.
Finally, I often hear “Exporting is not for me” but it really should be! It helps companies to be more competitive, more likely to survive tough times, make them more interesting to potential clients in their home market (once companies start exporting, local clients are less likely to look for discounts and more likely to pay the going rate) and you spread risk.
To get started or think about expanding your exports, have a look at the website www.exportingisgreat.gov.uk and think about what you can do to get started or move further on.
Happy to have a chat with anyone interested in pursuing exporting so please give me a call on 07966 308 481.
Margaret Bourke - Department for International Trade