Starting an Export Business: All You Need to Know

What to consider when your small business is exporting for the first time

Starting an Export Business: All You Need to Know

When launching a new business you need to ensure that you have thoroughly planned for every single aspect, your business should go through rigorous research and planning stages ahead of the launch date to ensure keeping ahead of the game.

Now is an excellent time to sell your products globally, especially considering that the world’s attention has been recently drawn to the UK as a result of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Also, the current financial climate in the UK, makes concentrating on export markets a very attractive proposition.  However, it is vital that you are equipped with the knowledge and organisational skills to succeed and even before you come close to shipping, there are many considerations you have to be conscious of if you’re looking to start an export business.

You will have to have an understanding of international trade regulations and different currencies and, as such, it is vital that you conduct extensive research on foreign markets and, where possible, visit the target country and gain an understanding of your target market.

You need to ensure that you are aware of potential competitors in your new location and have researched the culture of your target country and, specifically, how this impacts on how businesses work in your target country – for example, what marketing obligations are in place, both legally and culturally (what is accepted as well as what is allowed) and what are the commonly recognised techniques, standards and routes to market.

Other considerations could include:

  • Will you be selling direct from the UK or setting up an office overseas?  This opens up a whole avenue of other considerations, relating to international property management and/or employment law.
  • How will you be managing your exchange rates considerations?
  • Is the business already receiving success in the UK?
  • Is your product or service in demand?
  • Does your product or service meet all foreign standards and regulations?
  • Does the business have the resources and finances to cope with challenge of international trading?  Will you need more staff or equipment?
  • Is your product or service already exported from or imported into the UK?  And, if so, are there lessons to be learned from the existing market leaders (and, indeed, warnings from the also rans)
  • Do Trade Associations recommend exporting the product or service?

Whatever your business, planning to set up in the export market requires strategic planning, organisation and attention to detail.

For further business advice take a look at our articles in the Exporting section in particular Exporting Overseas – 9 Top Tips and Exporting: Ten Key Steps

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