Looking to export more in 2023? Unsure what to do? The UK economy is increasing it’s focus on exporting goods with lots of business to be won, here are some helpful ways to boost your export trade.
1. Make exporting key to your business strategy
If you commit to something it tends to happen, right? By focusing on growing or developing exports as a key element to your overall business strategy, you’re likely to form a strategic team and deliver it. This isn’t a short term fix though, plan for the long game and do your research. Where are your target markets or your target customers? How will you finance your exports? There’s a lot of avenues to consider.
2. Keep it SMART
“I want to increase export sales” is a very broad statement. “I want to increase export sales to Germany by 25% this year” is specific and therefore achievable. It’s important to know your target markets and the needs of would-be clients specifically within those markets. There are numerous elements you’ll want to consider such as forecasted demand, local or international competitors and any potential barriers you’ll have in accessing the market.
3. Keep it local
If you’re dipping your toe into the water of international trade, start by looking into Europe. Most European countries share similar cultures to ours, most use the Euro as a common currency and most have similar working hours. Once you’ve become confident in exporting, you’ll be able to leverage a lot of the relationships you’ll develop in the European market to look further afield to fast growing opportunities in South America, north Africa or Asia. One of the benefits to come from Brexit is that you now need to “export” to Europe. That export process by and large looks the same throughout the world.
4. Research, research, research
And research some more. This will take time but it’s time well spent and be thorough. Find out who the local trade associations are and subscribe to their publications. Are there any recurring issues or trends you pick up on? Knowing who your competitors to that market are and their prices, if possible, will be key to knowing if you want to pursue sales there or not. If after the research phase you decide there’s not enough in it for you, don’t be frightened to pull the plug.
5. Make it personal
Thanks in large to the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re all now well used to meeting with partners and colleagues from across the world on Teams or Zoom. These calls are great but there’s nothing like a physical visit to nurture long lasting business relationships. Be prepared to travel! Plan a few days or a week with specific meetings with trade partners, affiliations or with potential clients or perhaps to visit a local trade fair.
Take advantage of cheap flights to close big sales in person. Knowing your new partner cares to that extent will go a long way in developing future repeat orders.
Your freight forwarder can be your best friend! A well-established company which exports may have 10 trade lanes around the world. A freight forwarder will see hundreds of times that each week and all companies will have slightly different export processes. A good forwarder will have a worldwide partner network and will be happy to discuss new trade lanes and offer hints and tips of how best to move your goods in and out of your target country as efficiently as possible.