Wednesday 16 November 2011

How to Make Britain a more successful exporter. Part A.

From World Economies Infographics

"How do you think Britain could become more successful at exporting? And if you do export, let’s hear your success stories."

These were the relevant questions posed by the Prime Minister David Cameron on LinkedIn, following last week's joint UK Trade and Industry/Department for Business Innovation and Skills conference on 'Exporting for Growth.

And with good reason, as he went on to explain "We know that exporting is good for the economy. Sixty per cent of the UK’s productivity growth is due to companies who export and those that do are eleven per cent more productive."

The Prime minister expressed an interest in hearing businesses' views and during his speech, he announced a business growth package to help Britain’s small and medium sized enterprises create jobs, export to new markets, secure finance and cut red tape.

Naturally, I thought about the issue and came up with two distinct answers, based on my experience.
A. Making it easier for small businesses to even think about exporting and
B. Encourage small businesses to partner and provide a more comprehensive service.

Point A is expanded further below.
Point B is tackled in "How to Make Britain a more successful exporter. Part B."

A. Making it much easier for small and micro-businesses to even think about exporting.

Here my two recommendations:

1. Mail the following basic information. As a single sheet.
 a) Infographic on the potential markets out there for UK markets to tackle.
 b) Bullet point signposting on entering new markets abroad
c) Basic information on the costs and financial assistance available

2. Follow up with well publicised country/tradeshow visits. 
Actively target companies in chosen sectors, do not wait for them to come to you.


For example, here is information on UKTI support and costs/subsidies that actually took quite a while to compile
  • Export Market Research scheme - up to 50% support for agreed costs 
  • Export Communication Review £350 subsidy towards £500 cost for first review 
  • Overseas Marketing Info Service - from as little as £225 to £2000, depending on your requirements
  • Tradeshow Access Program for SMEs - From £1000 to £1800 assistance 
  • Free Political and Economic Updates. 
Small business leaders are pressed for time. A short prompt with relevant information is more likely to direct them to find out more.

The next step for those who are prompted by the initial short message: They may then be ready for the UKTI document "Your Export Opportunity - Our insight" ( It is positive and generally informative.

It is only then that the UKTI website with its wealth of detailed information and services available for the future exporter becomes relevant. By this time the interested party has hopefully the incentive to take valuable business time to dig for more information.

Making it very easy for businesses to make a taster trip to an exhibition abroad would also be of great benefit. There is nothing like physical presence at an event for meeting people and being open to new ideas and opportunities.

I am a UK provider of projects, market research, contacts and appointments for overseas companies entering the UK. There is a real push by countries such as Germany to enter markets in the EU and abroad and I've accompanied four or five delegations on the past year, often comprised of micro- businesses.

Whilst only a small proportion of companies then follow through and persist, it is a numbers game. The more that try, the more that will become active exporters. See how Germany has maintained its growth.

Where are tomorrows markets? See my infographic here based on IMF projections for 2010-2016

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