Whether you choose to trade in the UK or further afield, there are risks associated with doing business. That's why it's important for businesses both in my region, Yorkshire and Humber, and across the UK, to balance associated risks and opportunities of exporting.
Charles Darwin once said “it is not the strongest of species who survive, nor the most intelligent, it is the one who is most adaptable to change”. I’m sure he didn’t have International Trade at the forefront of his mind when he said this, yet his message is appropriate nonetheless.
Just as the digital revolution has made it easier, more convenient and cheaper for us to communicate with our friends and family internationally , the same can also be said for communicating and trading with potential customers.
Again and again, research shows that exporters, of all sizes, are more productive, innovative and resilient to economic downturns; achieve a stronger bottom line, and are more likely to stay in business. Why is this? Because by trading with different markets you are also spreading your income across different economies and ultimately recession becomes less of a sustainability risk to your business.
The blind side…
Of course, making the move into a new market – especially when you’re dealing with a different language, culture or regulations can feel like a leap into the unknown. It needn’t - there is a range of support available for businesses who are considering exporting, from Local Enterprise Partnerships, Chambers and UK Trade and Investment.
You don’t need to be an experienced exporter to trade internationally and have an impact globally. Exporting is GREAT is the government campaign designed to inspire 100,000 new exporters by 2020, featuring thousands of global business opportunities that businesses can apply for. Two in five of the UK’s smallest exporters have less than 10 employees and are currently doing business with a least one high growth market such as China, United Arab Emirates and India. In Yorkshire and the Humber we have so many specialisms that are in demand not only in the UK, but all over the world. To put it simply, the opportunity is endless and with the right support there is no limit to what businesses can achieve globally.
Once you have identified an opportunity, it is important to understand the risks in order to plan how you will manage them, or recognise if you are prepared to take the risk at all. Research has shown that businesses who choose to export become 34% more productive in their first year. Despite the common risks businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber have experienced such as resource (52%), cultural (13%), financial (12%), and protecting IP (2%), these businesses are all successfully trading both in the UK and internationally.
There is no denying that each market you research will have its own associated risks of entry. However, with nothing ventured there is nothing gained, and there is a lot to be gained for businesses in the region who act smart, get the correct advice, and seek growth in international markets.
Darwin’s theory of natural selection, acting to preserve through a series of minor advantageous mutations, rings true in business today. Digital has changed the world and the way we do business; it is no longer about how big your budgets are, but how receptive you are to the opportunity that digital can bring. Darwin said change is inevitable for survival, the risk of not doing so is demonstrated by the number of extinct and endangered species we see today. Entrepreneurs and business alike should take note of this and seize the opportunity that both digital and trading internationally can bring to their business.
You can find global export opportunities on the Exporting is GREAT website. Visit the site for export leads, practical support and inspiration for UK companies who want to grow their business through export