By Mark Riches, Bibby Financial Services.

This year has been tough for businesses, particularly those involved in international trade. The coalition Government has placed UK exports at the top of its agenda, with a view to reducing the country’s trade deficit. And while exporters have been able to take advantage of the weakness of the pound over recent years they have experienced increased overseas demand for goods, but that may not be the case for the longer term.

Looking forward, there are several factors which look set to have an impact on businesses involved in international trade. Inflationary pressures look set to have an impact in the long term, with companies saying they will be forced to pass on part of their rising costs to the end consumer. Domestic demand remains fragile, and import growth is likely to be limited until confidence recovers.

Funding for businesses looking to move into overseas markets and develop growth strategies is still limited, and in order for those involved in international trade to develop and make a dent in the trade deficit both the Government and lenders must ensure firms have access to funding to support this growth.

With the banks still reluctant to lend, businesses are turning to other sources of finance. Using an international trade finance facility such as the offering provided by Bibby Financial Services releases a continuous flow of cash for firms to develop overseas activities. These facilities provide upfront funding against confirmed customer orders, and then releases an ongoing percentage of the value of customer invoices raised against those orders.

Many invoice finance providers also employ their own team of experienced, multi-lingual staff, which will chase and collect outstanding customer invoices on the client’s behalf, eliminating the frustration and hassle of dealing with any potential cultural and communications barriers. As well as undertaking the collections and credit control, some providers can also offer protection against bad debts to ensure that overseas trade is conducted securely.

For those businesses trading or looking to trade overseas, one of the main problems they face is accessing the finance needed to fund overseas activity and take advantage of opportunities on foreign shores.

However, working with a specialist international trade finance provider such as Bibby Financial Services can help ensure cash flow is in place to grow the business.

Do you trade in other countries and do you want to raise the profile of your company? Then apply for the 2012 International Trade Awards and propel your business into new markets and accelerated growth.

Now in their fifth year, the 2012 International Trade Awards is the only UK wide business awards to exclusively recognise the success of exporters, importers and those trading overseas.

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