How SMEs can export successfully
Expanding into overseas regions can provide major boosts for many small companies but it is not without risk.
Firms that do choose to export are 11% more likely to survive in the long term, yet only one in five does so according to the Confederation of British Industry.
Given the potential increase to business that is possible, SMEs can find success quickly should they open export channels in the right way.
But doing it in the right way requires plenty of time and consideration, as well as the financial backing to ensure the process goes smoothly.
Language barriers can make entering some markets difficult but it is not the only issue that SMEs can face – markets need to be identified and understood, as do potential competitors in new regions.
Knowing how to do this is important, as business owners will need to know how to access the information they need and how to understand it.
Such decisions could be highly influential when entering a new market, as initial checks should identify whether a region is suitable as an export destination.
Help is available for UK exporters while companies could even partner with other firms overseas, providing mutual benefits for both parties.
The key with the initial stages of exporting and expansion is to ensure that processes are cost effective.
Funds should be carefully managed to ensure that they are not pushed into projects too quickly, as these funds could then be at risk in the event of something going wrong.
Therefore, it is of vital importance that firms seek insolvency advice should they feel their finances are not in a strong position.
Such actions provide peace of mind in the short term but also help to identify areas of a business where savings could be made.
Being ready to export is not a process that can be rushed as there are plenty of factors that require consideration.
Sourcing experienced staff and bridging skills gaps are just two of the factors that require attention, as links can then be developed in new regions.
Research is the key to exporting success, as a business should not enter a new area without prior knowledge of what to expect – even if this means delaying a potential product launch.
By Phil Smith