It’s no secret that Christmas provides a great opportunity for a huge range of businesses to boost sales and pick up momentum heading into the New Year.
However, not all businesses are taking full advantage of the festive spirit.
I was extremely surprised and a little saddened to read that 75% of small businesses in the UK do not export at all and have no future plans to start selling abroad. This means that there are many great products and services that the UK has to offer, but that the rest of the world are not getting the chance to experience. Unfortunately, this is a lose-lose situation.
Last year UK exports rose 3% above their 2014 trend in the run up to Christmas. This may seem like a small increase but translates to a substantial Christmas bonus for British businesses - £4.5billion is the exact size of the gift that UK exporters must have been delighted to receive last year.
Some UK businesses have made the most of the festive export boom. Cath Kidston and the Cambridge Satchel Company are just two examples of companies who have achieved explosive growth by fully utilising foreign markets. I’m certain their active export strategies allow them to cash in at Christmas more than most.
There were and will likely always be difficulties to be overcome when exporting. Culture, pricing and delivery were all factors that certainly needed careful consideration before Brompton exported to a new market.
These obstacles may be daunting but can definitely be overcome.
It is wise to travel, meet people face-to-face and, as much as possible, test out new markets in person. Major platforms for deal making such as the International Festival for Business 2016 in Liverpool offer ideal opportunities to make the necessary connections that will prepare you to take advantage of the festive export boom in 2016 and beyond.
In business you have to take risks to succeed. If you don’t go out and meet potential export partners and invest time in building relationships with them, you are passing up a huge opportunity.
Take the time to build an export strategy, make the effort to meet the gatekeepers of global markets and next Christmas your balance sheet, brand awareness and your new customers abroad will receive an extra festive treat.
By Will Butler-Adams OBE, Ambassador for the International Festival for Business 2016 and CEO of Brompton Bikes