Should businesses increase their focus on export and trading?
Greater exporting and international trading has been described as “key” to the success of the UK economy, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).
In a survey of more than 4,700 businesses they found that new exporters with just 0-2 years of experience trading internationally account for a shockingly low proportion of overall traders.
They make up just 11% of the total figure compared to existing traders who had been working internationally for five years or more and account for a massive 75%.
This prompted the BCC to call on the Government to encourage international trade and exporting by making it easier for more companies to get involved; citing research which proves that companies soon move into other territories once they begin trading internationally as justification.
Almost two-thirds (64%) of businesses trade in six countries or more once they move into international markets and this rapid expansion can provide plenty of business benefits.
An international profile is a great asset for a business of any size; significantly boosting sales, revenue and profit but it does require extensive research, preparation, work and investment.
Failure to take proper stock of all aspects of business finances when looking to trade internationally could lead to initial problems that only escalate as time goes on.
Lacking the experience, knowledge or skills to trade and export successfully can even make the process more costly to the business and increase initial outlays which can later eat into profits.
Businesses are advised to assess their cash-flow in great detail before any major change and consider business turnaround measures to streamline their operations and guarantee that they operate at their full potential.
They should also ensure that they have sufficient knowledge of the international markets they target initially; something previously highlighted as the biggest barrier to overseas trading.
For their part, the BCC has outlined a number of measures they intend to take to make international trade and exporting easier for new businesses.
This includes developing a business-to-business network, improving access to finance for UK businesses and reforming the passport and visa system to make trading easier.
As BCC Director General John Longworth explained:
“Business and government can and must work together to help more companies enter the export game, and ensure that the UK has a steady flow of firms keen to move beyond the domestic market for the first time.”
By Phil Smith