International trade makes good business sense for small to medium sized business – the type of business that is the bread and butter of the water leisure markets. Studies show that firms increase their productivity by an average of 34% in the first year of exporting. What is more, firms that internationalise are 12% more likely to survive through difficult times. Traditionally, British pool and spa business has been too shy to flex its international muscle. Yet there are so many benefits in spreading your risk – if one market dips, another can take up the slack, and it reduces dependence on the home market. Firms that have learned how to adapt by dipping their toes into export markets will instinctively differentiate their product or service offer according to the customer and see their home sales grow too. international trade Understanding the benefits of exporting is only half the story; it is still necessary to ask yourself whether it a realistic aim for your business and if your company is ready for the challenges it presents. While more companies should be encouraged to take advantage of the benefits international trade can bring to their productivity, growth and durability, all exporters, particularly new ones, need to be aware of the challenges that await the unwary and unprepared. Any successful exporter will tell you their success would not have been possible without sound intelligence based on serious research. Similarly, if we look at the most common and avoidable errors made by companies targeting new overseas markets, lack of proper preparation is at the root of most of them. Every country presents its own practical, regulatory, legal, logistical and cultural problems that must be addressed if you want to sell into them effectively. So, take time to understand each market. MIRROR IMAGE The last year has seen good growth in Germany, Sweden and Poland as well as some others. You will get the benefit of strengthening economies as well as the competitive pound. Did you know that Qatar, Turkmenistan, Ethiopia and Mozambique featured in the top ten fastest-growing economies of 2010? Of course, you should look at Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRIC markets), but also consider others such as Mexico, South Africa, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia. There is real growth in these economies and you need to have a strategy to capitalise upon the many opportunities there. The UK Trade & Investment department offers businesses a variety of services to help them trade overseas successfully. This includes an evaluation of your export readiness, and advice on how to prepare and equip your business for international trade. Specific services include the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) – a tailored service to access market and industry information, identify potential contacts or assist in planning an event. Reports are commissioned from specialists based at UK diplomatic posts in the target markets.
Other schemes include:
• Passport to Export provides new and inexperienced exporters with the training, planning advice and ongoing support they need to succeed overseas.
• Gateway to Global Growth is a service for experienced exporters. It offers a strategic review, planning advice and support to help companies to build on their previous success and develop new overseas markets.
• Events and seminars are held across the UK and the world. They include specific sector and market-based activities.
• Trade missions are organised to help UK companies visit the marketplace they’re interested in and talk face-to-face with prospective business partners. UKTI also organises missions into the UK to allow overseas delegates to meet with potential partners or investors.
• Business opportunities can be emailed directly into your inbox, highlighting hot leads in your chosen overseas market. Companies can sign up for this free service by visiting www.ukti.gov.uk
• Export Communication Review assesses the way companies communicate with overseas customers and makes practical recommendations for improvement, including advice on websites. The service is managed for UKTI by the British Chambers of Commerce.
• Export Marketing Research Scheme offers support, advice and grant funding to eligible companies wishing to research a potential export market. The service is managed for UKTI by the British Chambers of Commerce.
• FCO Country Updates provides authoritative analysis of emerging markets and identifies key issues relevant to UK business, for example, assessments of political and economic issues. The updates are compiled by UK embassies with access to high level Government and business contacts. There are UKTI international trade teams in every region of the country, with locally based International trade advisers, all with personal, practical experience of exporting in sectors across the board, to provide impartial, tailored advice. For more information on UKTI, and to locate your regional International Trade Team, visit www. ukti.gov.uk or telephone +44 (0)20 7215 8000
Exclusive UK representatives for the International Pool & Spa Press Alliance, Pool & Spa Scene magazine has an unrivalled network of overseas contacts.
Don’t get left behind, use Pool & Spa Scene as your company’s extra sales representative.
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