You’ve got a successful business here in the UK and you’re looking to expand overseas. While the United States is the most popular country to export goods to, with the right product and service offering, you could turn your SME into a global corporation. Before you rush in however, take the time to read these top dos and don’ts when trading overseas and make sure you’re as prepared as you can be for moving your business abroad.
- Create a website
Listing your product collection online for the whole world to see is the easiest and most efficient way to cast your net. With everyone focusing on the digital market nowadays, online is the way to go.
- Accept online payments
If you’re going to market your products globally, you’ll have to be prepared to accept a wide variety of currency payments through your website. Remember to bear in mind exchange rate fluctuations when pricing. Over-price your products and they’re unlikely to sell; under-price them and you’ll lose out.
- Get social
Never underestimate the power and influence of social media in today’s society. It allows you to have a more personal contact with your customers and to engage with them on a more human level. And don’t forget to employ somebody to manage your social pages continually – being there for your customers when you need them will keep them coming back to you.
- Employ a local team
There are many benefits of employing a local workforce: you’ll have a team who not only speak the local language (useful if you’re exporting to any non-English native speaking country) but know the culture and the local market. Use their valuable insights to make your products work for your overseas customers. Remember to touch base frequently though – your presence there on a regular basis will instil confidence in your employees.
- Talk to the experts
Know anyone else exporting to the same country as you? Get their advice about what works and what doesn’t and remember that it can take time to establish yourself fully into a new market.
- Use a foreign exchange specialist
Many business people make the mistake of going straight to their bank with their currency queries but this can result in you being charged twice for the same transaction – both in your home country and in the country you’re exporting to. Use a foreign exchange specialist like Moneycorp instead and you’ll only be charged once. What’s more, you’ll get the benefit of our expert advice and may be able to secure an exchange rate for a fixed period of time, meaning you won’t lose out on exchange rate fluctuations.
- Market your product in the target languageWhile it’s true that businesses all over the world operate in English, you’ll get a better connection with your customers by marketing your product in their language. That doesn’t mean you have to become an expert in Japanese or Spanish overnight – get the help of a translator who will be able to localise the language, keeping you in the best professional light.
- Know the lawIt’s absolutely essential that you read up on the laws around the goods you are exporting. If that means you have to fill out a lot of paperwork, do it. Where the law is concerned, there is no room for mistakes.
- Miss an opportunity
If you’re holidaying in the country you export to, extend your trip for a few days and take the time to research the market/ drop in on your team/ find out where your product fits in with the current demand.
- Be disrespectful of national holidays
By doing your research properly, you should gain an understanding of the culture. Look up the national holidays and respect them – you’ll do your business and your reputation a favour.
- Stick to universal margins
When trading overseas, you have to be prepared to alter your prices to fit in with the market. Just because your product is considered an essential item in the UK, doesn’t mean it will be regarded the same overseas. To some countries, you may need to market it as a luxury item.
- Keep shipping to a minimum
The most cost-savvy businesses ship as many goods as they can at once to save on shipping fees. At the same time, it’s a wise idea to take out marine insurance to cover the cost of loss or damage to products while in transit.
- Ignore the signs
If a strategy isn’t working for you, don’t ignore the warning signs. Get expert advice and listen to their recommendations, then change it before it gets too late. Successful businesses move with the times and adapt when necessary.
Are you thinking of expanding your business overseas? What other dos and don’ts can you think of? Let us know on our Facebook and Twitter pages.