Paul Noon, regional director of UK Trade & Investment West Midlands, talks about opportunities for exporting, whatever the size of the business.
We all know by now the importance the Government is attaching to growing international trade to boost the UK Economy. But so many companies in the West Midlands - particularly SMEs - still hold the view that the effort, time and funds they may have to invest, wouldn’t be worth the return.
Yet how wrong they would be.
UKTI commissioned independent research into this recently and the key findings from SME Exporters surveyed were:
58% said that exporting led to a level of growth not otherwise possible for their company.
59% developed or modified a product as a result of doing business abroad.
44% reported a direct link between exporting and increased turnover.
44% said exporting significantly increased their profile/credibility.
The creation of an overseas presence led on average to the creation of a further 3.5 jobs in the UK.
So where in the world to go?
Despite the doom and gloom in the Eurozone we’re not suggesting companies dismiss Europe altogether. There are still flourishing markets in certain sectors and we are certainly continuing to provide trade missions to key European markets. However, we are also encouraging firms to look further afield
The research shows that SMEs are aware of this and are not restricting themselves to traditional markets like Western Europe. About a third of all SME exporters already export outside of Europe. The survey shows that 40% of “ young “ exporters (ie exporting for less than two years) are doing business with at least one high growth market outside Europe. A further 25% say they are “ very likely” to take a step into a high growth market in the next two years.
In order to help SMEs find out more about the overseas markets that may be of benefit to them, our Market Visit Support (MVS) is there to help. We’ve recently confirmed our West Midlands MVS programme of trade missions - also know as market visits - designed to help local SMEs visit potential international sales leads and trade fairs, meet prospective agents and distributors and carry out market research.
Some of the territories we shall be visiting over the coming year include: Brazil, India, China, Australia, USA, Japan and Singapore.
As part of the service we provide companies with support both before and during the visit through the Overseas Market Introduction Service, (OMIS) which provides assistance from the British Consulates, Embassies and High Commissions overseas.
No matter what size your business, it’s a fact - doing business overseas can not only improve the bottom line but can lead directly to growth, improved efficiency, new ideas for products and services and increased confidence and ambition.