This Export Week, Sage announced its partnership with the government’s Exporting is GREAT initiative to encourage more of its businesses to drive growth though exporting over the next five years.
Britain has historically been an exporting nation, famed for British quality and British standards. Napoleon called us a nation of shopkeepers, but really we’ve always been a nation of inventors and manufacturers in the first instance.
Understandably, exporting is not without its challenges. Here are some top tips to help your business break through barriers to exporting.
Your new partners need to be able to understand you. Going right back to basics, ensure you are talking to them in simple and short sentences. British colloquialisms don’t translate at all. So don’t tell a German to keep all their eggs in one basket, or tell a Brazilian that you’re backing the wrong horse.
Financing your export
Financing ventures in new territories can be a stopper for businesses looking to spread their wings, but support is out there. The Government will help businesses export via UKTI and they’ll also help you finance it. The Chancellor has recently doubled the export finance fund to £3bn. And companies such as Sage are meeting the demands of customers by providing solutions that require reduced CAPEX or OPEX investment through flexible cloud business management solutions. These will reduce the initial outlay for IT provision and also enable businesses to streamline the manpower needed to maintain them.
Keep an eye on the administration
Selling in new markets, whether directly, through partners or franchises, always creates forms to fill in and formalities to comply with. It’s important to understand what you’re doing and when you need to do it else your timelines can derail. Here’s where expert partners like the UKTI come in, to assist you in acquiring the knowledge and skills for the markets and businesses suitable for you.
Don’t take the eye of the ball at home
Usually your new export markets will offer you less margin. Be aware that even if you’re doing well that you’re not making as much money as you are from your loyal customers at home. So don’t neglect your higher value customers. Doing so is a real risk to the core of the business.
Timing is everything
Changes in currency conversion rates can wipe out your profits or increase your gains. It makes sense to time your sales and purchases to make the most of favourable rates. Similarly, when you wish to bring money back home from foreign investments and bank accounts, if you can wait for the best rates (which often cycle somewhat predictably) you can make your hard earned cash work even harder.
Use the right tools to ensure you stay on track and tie together your expanding markets, people and functions. With the right business solutions your business can be multi-currency, multi-language and keep you legislatively compliant without hiring multi-lingual staff to manage administrating the process and enable intentional trade to become frictionless.
Currency conversations and impact on cash reserves can be quickly calculated in accounting and business management software, ensuring that ensures you know what the business can afford and accurately forecast for expansion. Cloud computing solutions make the right data available for far flung employees working in different time zones, aiding collaboration through effective mobility.
The right payments partner can keep you compliant with international financial regulations and ensure that you don’t need to store customer payment details on your own servers, if that’s a concern. Customer relationship management solutions can help you keep track of your prospects and best customers and offer them personalised care.
What are you waiting for?
There is nothing standing in the way of any UK enterprise who wants to take the plunge. The government is demonstrating its commitment by providing support through UKTI to all businesses. It’s even more powerful when we’re all in it together. It’s a virtuous circle that leads to an ecosystem of partners and benefits to customers, businesses and UK PLC as a whole.
By Brendan Flattery, President of Sage Europe