Statistics released by government body United Kingdom Trade and Investment (UKTI) show that 85 per cent of UKTI clients achieved growth through exports that were not otherwise possible, while 87 per cent stated that exporting improved their profile and credibility.
Although the UK economy has grown favourably, growth has not been export-led, and the UK is in danger of missing the £1 trillion export target for 2020 set by the Government.
“It is not a lost cause for UK exports,” says Carl Hasty, Director of international payment specialist Smart Currency Business. “Far from it, in fact. There is a lot of support available for UK businesses that want to trade abroad.”
Here are some avenues of information and support that UK businesses should consider to boost their business, according to Hasty:
1. Professional advisors
A professional advisor can help a business assess its export potential; help the business research the most suitable markets; explain trading conditions; and provide help in overcoming barriers to international trade. Sector specialists may also be available to provide a business with valuable information specific to the industry in which it is trading.
2. Export finance providers
United Kingdom Export Finance (UKEF) is an invaluable resource for UK exporters. The organisation offers financial assistance such as helping to insure UK exporters in the event of non-payment by overseas buyers, guaranteeing bank loans, and can relieve banks of a share of credit risk on export finance.
3. Overseas trade teams
Government organisations like UKTI have offices in many countries abroad, with experts who possess knowledge of local markets, customs and languages. They may also be able to connect businesses with useful political and commercial contacts in a specific country.
4. Trade Shows
Businesses looking to test and access overseas markets can find it helpful to attend and/or exhibit at trade shows and exhibitions abroad. Some organisations offer funding for businesses to showcase their merchandise at overseas trade shows.
5. Communications experts
A business can maximise the effectiveness of its overseas communications by seeking independent advice on linguistic, communication and cultural issues. The guidance provided can range from whether a business’s website is easily accessed and understood by overseas clients, to the local cultural nuances of imagery used in advertisements.
6. Other exporters
Communities like UKTI’s Open to Export have been set up specifically for businesses interested in trading abroad. Besides exchanging information, exporters can network and perhaps even gain access to businesses opportunities that they would not have been exposed to otherwise.