Small and growing businesses from across Bedford and Milton Keynes met at the Cranfield Innovation Centre offices to hear from a panel of expert exporters on how to access foreign markets and compete internationally.
Following a lively discussion, here are our top tips for budding exporters looking to expand their businesses overseas. A pdf is also available to download here.
- Tapping new markets is a huge commitment and shouldn’t jeopardise your domestic business. Allow for your exports’ potential inpact on cashflow
- Look at your competitors and learn from their successes or failures
- Review your product – do you need to adapt what you sell to suit a new market?
- Don’t forget markets close to home including Gibraltar and Cyprus. Exports to BRIC countries from UK still don’t exceed exports to the Republic or Ireland
A People Business
- Face-to-face contact is crucial, both to make introductions and maintain business • Choose your distributors and agents very carefully and stay hands-on
- Be understood – learn the language or find someone else who speaks it…
- …and also understand the cultural nuances of how businesses in other markets operate, starting with absolute basics such as operating hours and appropriate greetings
- Make the most of the UK’s global reputation for products and services
- Use UKTI links to access commercial knowledge on the ground worldwide, as well as using their guidance tools in the UK at www.ukti.gov.uk including services, business opportunities and events
- Get your paperwork right and beware of pitfalls such as making sure you match the terminology exactly – speak to your local Chamber of Commerce for support
- Negotiate tight payment terms, be realistic about setting contract deadlines and make sure everyone in your supply chain knows critical dates
- Think about every step of your and your product’s journey, including meeting custom requirements
About the events
Cranfield University Technology Park’s free business seminars are designed to suit the needs of growing businesses in the Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire, with topics ranging from finance and business development to apprenticeship programmes.
The events which include a networking breakfast are hosted in the Cranfield Innovation Centre offices’ conferencing suite and are open to all.
The events are delivered in partnership with Cranfield University, South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) and Central Bedfordshire Council.