By Martin Davidian, Managing Director Sales UK North & Ireland, FedEx Express
Savvy British businesses are continually on the lookout for the next big opportunity to grow. Wanting to secure success in 2015 and beyond is natural and one consideration is to look at cultural events, which bring new customers to local businesses in the area.
Every year, there’s a constant stream of international events that small businesses could use to increase everything from their brand awareness to sales. When all eyes are on the UK, many British businesses can benefit from national and international tourism. But how can UK businesses capitalise on a potential new international following?
Entrepreneurs need to realise how being British can help international success. From hosting the London 2012 Games — which is set to add a grand total of £41bn to the economy by 2020 — to the latest edition to the Royal Family — whose birth is expected to boost the economy by £1bn in 10 years — “Brand Britain” has never been stronger. There’s certainly no one-size-fits-all approach but your logistics provider will be able to advise you on the markets that best suit your products and get you there. It’s about looking at your business and potential overseas customers and developing a business rationale that delivers and captures value, and builds on the cultural aspects of being British.
For those entrepreneurs looking to continue their business’ success long after the international events have gone here’s some top tips on how to get involved:
1) Shout about your British-ness
British brands are admired the world over thanks to our distinctive heritage and history. If you have not done so already, consider incorporating elements of "British-ness" into your packaging and brand strategy to reap the rewards.
2) Go digital
Make sure your website is up-to-date and consider including a foreign-language function. If you're going to have customers from Poland to Peru, you will need to accommodate their needs in the same way you do for those in the UK.
3) Know Your Consumer Laws
There is a legal framework that protects international customers through the import-export process. The International Chamber of Commerce offers a Model International Sale Contract to save time and cut risks when buying and selling manufactured goods and provides clear directions to sellers and buyers, which is something all businesses need to be aware of.
4) There is no such thing as over-planning
If your product is as good as we know it is, once it is stocked abroad, demand for it could take off extremely quickly. Make sure your business is prepared for a potential avalanche of orders and that the UK side of the business will not be overwhelmed.
5) Get support with customs regulations
Yes they can be challenging, and yes they differ from country to country but with the right support and advice, your shipments will sail through customs. While it is a good idea to learn the basics, you do not need to be an expert, as that is what your logistics provider is for.
6) Learn like a local
If possible it’s important to visit the country you’re planning to enter, as this will give you an accurate sense of the market, for example the culture and how to position your product — there’s no substitute for this! Researching the competition, meeting potential buyers and getting to know the locals are invaluable to making your expansion a success.
7) The world is your oyster
New markets are emerging all the time, which British businesses should consider capitalising upon and you could be surprised by the locations your product garners appeal. A good logistics provider will be able to offer guidance and insight into exporting behaviour as well as how to best enter these international markets.
With the UK government setting a £1tn exporting target for UK businesses by 2020, and a host of international events on the horizon, the opportunities are vast for UK businesses. The above tips are based on just some of the conversations we have had with our small business customers, which reinforce how important it is to be not just a logistics provider but a trusted expert who provides solutions as well.