We featured in the following blog this month on Bdaily.co.uk. Here it is, in case you missed it first time round.
“I want the message to go out that we are backing our exporters – so that wherever you are around the world you can’t fail to see: Made in Britain.”
So said George Osborne in last month’s Budget speech.
Britain has a poor recent record when it comes to export. In the first decade of this century the UK’s share of global exports fell from 5.3% to 4.1%. Contrast that with the increase over the same period in Germany from 8.9% to 9.3%- we are definitely missing a trick.
Here are five reasons why you should be focusing on export sales:
1. A stronger economy
Of course, more export means a better economy.
The UKTI has said they want 100,000 more UK companies to be exporting by 2020- that’s because with this kind of business, we’d be stronger. It’s estimated that if Britain had focused its attention on growing exports to high growth markets in 2000, by 2010 GDP would have been bolstered an extra 1%, the equivalent of £15bn extra.
These high growth markets, specifically the ‘BRIC’ countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), are a much bigger focus for businesses across the pond. In the USA, as well as in Germany, 11% of exports are to BRIC territories. Contrast that with only 4% of our exports here in the UK.
Whether you’re a manufacturer, a software company, a retailer or a service provider, now is a great time to look at expanding into new markets.
2. Export makes you stronger
Diversifying may well make you stronger.
Here in the UK, companies that do export are 11% more likely to survive from year to year. We’re also seeing stronger growth from exporters than from other businesses, with 57% of UK exporters seeing sales rise over the last year.
3. There’s a whole world out there
As a business owner it’s easy to be blinded to the opportunities that are out there. You’re so focused on the day-to-day running of your company that you may well be missing out.
Think about which new territories you could target. Having talked already about BRIC countries, there are also a huge number of other places you could take your sales team.
What about the EU? Yes, there are some noteworthy economic problems in parts, but it’s still a huge single market that means you don’t have to think about the burden of internal direct tariffs. In parts of Europe there are markets hungry for new products, and travel there and back is also easier for you and your team.
Higher growth areas include China, where there’s a huge 1.3bn population, and Brazil, where they’re enjoying prosperity as well as the world cup this summer. Both countries provide great opportunities for UK businesses.
4. You’re at an advantage
Remember that UK businesses already have several advantages when selling into foreign markets.
Firstly, although you might not think it to look at our national rail services, our infrastructure is top notch compared to the global average. We can ship products anywhere easily- a great advantage.
We’re well placed between the Far East, Europe and America- great for when clients need to arrange deliveries or meetings at your HQ.
Then there’s the English language- just by chance, you and your team speak the most used international language for business, making communication across the globe so much easier.
Lastly, consider the prestige and heritage that comes with that ‘Made in Britain’ badge. There’s a feeling that British brands are better quality and are made to certain standards. Take Burberry, for example- one of our biggest fashion exporters.
5. There are flexible ways to finance export
Several new ways for exporters to get finance have emerged over the last few years, aiding the UKTI’s mission to get more British businesses selling abroad.
For example, MarketInvoice’s online invoice finance platform is already helping hundreds of exporters control their cashflow. Clients upload an outstanding invoice for sale and can drawdown a large percentage of the balance within hours.
One of MarketInvoice’s clients happens to be the British Exporters Association (BExA) Young Exporter of the Year. Geoffrey de Mowbray is CEO of DINTS International, a company that supplies vehicles, equipment and parts to African mining companies.
He uses MarketInvoice because the big corporates he supplies take time to pay invoices. “It’s a model that works like communities in Africa”, he says, referring to our platform that brings together businesses needing finance with investors seeking a return. “If someone has a problem, people pull together to help”.