Business as usual?
In many ways yes, it is business as usual. It’s important to continue to communicate regularly with your European partners, suppliers and clients. Consider your unique proposition in the market or supply chain and ways you can enhance it. Do you need to invest in research and development to ensure your products remain leading-edge? Find out more about Trading Blocs and Customs Unions and markets offering Free Trade Agreements and Free Trade Zones. Consider the robustness of your existing product and service offer and where improvements can be made. It may also be a good time to review agreements with suppliers, partners, agents and distributors.
Speak to the heart
“If you speak to a man in a language he understands, it goes to his head. But if you speak to him in his own language, it goes to his heart”. Nelson Mandela
Consider your team’s capability to do business across cultures including experience of working in different cultural contexts and in languages other than English. Research shows that the importance of languages to trade and prosperity cannot be overlooked. Speaking the language of your buyers, whether it’s sales negotiations, customer service situations or when marketing, always pays off. It’s estimated that £48 billion of contracts are lost every year because of lack of language skills and a recent report from the British Council has outlined the necessity for investment in languages education in the UK to serve our trade and prosperity needs – worth bearing in mind when recruiting new staff to your sales and customer service teams. Consider internationalisation of your website and seek professional advice on this. Always work with professional translators and interpreters too.
Cast your net widely and ask for help
Consider the markets beyond Europe that offer potential growth. These may not always be the most obvious so always carry out market research to test any assumptions. Speaking to a DIT International Trade Adviser could be one of the best steps you can take in this respect. Our funded services can help you to overcome any perceived and real barriers to international sales growth and develop an export action plan that helps you to identify and enter the most appropriate markets for your products and services. We can also help you to connect with expertise from our partners and network of embassies and trade offices internationally. The Global Growth Programme is an example of a service we provide, specially designed for SMEs registered in England with turnover £5m-£40m.
Here’s how it works:
If your business is eligible for this service and I'm your allocated adviser, I visit your business and meet with the directors. N.B. my consultancy and advisory support is fully-funded. I support companies in North West England and am one of a number of Global Growth Managers located across the English regions – you’ll be allocated an adviser accordingly. I will discuss your business growth ambitions and aspects of your business pertinent to international growth. I meet with the directors to carry out the diagnostic review. I follow up by writing a detailed report and export action plan with recommendations, addressing your business internationalisation and export sales growth potential including: products and services; planning and market knowledge; sales and marketing processes; staffing, skills and organisational culture; finance and competitiveness; logistics and operations.
Many companies have already benefited from this new Global Growth Programme and are using the £3.5K co-investment grant to help to take them access specialist consultancy from third party providers of their choice. Examples of these projects include: researching the German market and identifying distributor networks; website internationalisation and translation for multiple markets; legal advice on licensing; and overseas direct investment e.g. setting up an operation in USA or UAE.
The Global Growth Programme is one of a number of advisory and learning support services we provide for eligible SMEs of all sizes from 1-250 employees. Funded support may be available to assist your company with market visits, market research, exhibiting at international tradeshows, translation and localisation of your website and other marketing; we also offer funded masterclasses, events, webinars and much more.