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Hard work, inspiration and fun - my GREAT Week mission to Japan

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Export, Food & drink, Japan
UK Trade Minister Lord Livingston samples Amelia Rope Chocolates during the Japan mission
UK Trade Minister Lord Livingston samples Amelia's chocolates during the Japan mission

My first experience of a GREAT week was as part of a trade mission to Japan in October of this year.  I was slightly apprehensive whether I was committing to something that would help my business, Amelia Rope Chocolate, grow in export but all I can say is WOW!

UKTI Japan and the FCO delivered an incredible week's package.  It was non stop, hard work, exciting, inspirational and also importantly fun.

The first morning was spent with a detailed briefing on Japan's economics, the Japanese spending habits and importantly time spent on how we should conduct business with the Japanese.  All vital and very insightful.   The 2 day showcase in the British Embassy was excellent.  UKTI invited key buyers, agents & distributors - the majority of whom I think it would be very difficult to meet without UKTI Japan support.  I met every buyer from the stores I had wanted to meet and I hope my future agent.

The important link to all the GREAT delegates and the buyers was the translation support.  Most of us had only the very basics in Japanese; hello, goodbye & thank you.  They were superb.  In our sector I think everyone would say the translators could have done the selling for us all.  The other great thing is that I now have a translator I can employ for any translating I need.

To do this trip as a solo individual which was an option I was thinking of I know I would have not managed to meet the buyers I wanted to.

Here's my tips for export success - the mission gave me a great chance to put them into practice:

•         Begin to understand the culture
•         Watch for spending trends
•         Work out whether you're selling to nationals or expats
•         Know whether you need to alter your product slightly to compete
•         Establish whether there's a gap in their market for your product

If it was a  country and market place appropriate for my business, would I apply to go on another GREAT week? You bet!

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