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The Great British brands abroad

Phil Morgan, the CEO of SPS, offers tips on exporting.

It may seem a cliché but, with the massive developments in communications technology, the world really does seem a smaller place, especially when it comes to doing business around the world. There are huge opportunities for taking Great British brands abroad, and a wealth of support to help companies do just that. Chambers of commerce, UKTI and of course the bpma offer a wealth of guidance and support.

As CEO of a British manufacturer, I can offer a few “dos” and “don’ts” when it comes to exporting your products. 

DO know where you’re going. It may sound obvious, but select the priority countries you want to target, rather than going after “Europe” as a whole.

DON’T use a blanket approach. You can’t use a “one size fi ts all” approach when it comes to overseas markets, not if you want to get the most out of each country.

DO your research in your target countries. What’s the potential? Who are the big players? What are the customers buying? Which marketing approaches are most successful?

DON’T underestimate the benefi t of local knowledge and expertise. If you want a serious presence in Europe, it’s worth investing in local representatives. You could select a partner to represent your brand in the new markets or take the bold step of employing somebody in the area. Each option has its pros and cons, so take some time to figure out the best solution for your company.

DO translate, and do it well! You really can’t afford to take shortcuts and “auto translate” functions with your content. Investing in good translations, carried out by native speakers with relevant experience, will make a massive difference for you, and help you to avoid potential offensive or embarrassing translations!

DON’T underestimate the investment you will need to make. To establish a true presence you’ll need to plan for sustained marketing campaigns and relationship development programmes.

DO make the most of the independent and professional support available.

DON’T forget to use the technology at our disposal for meetings with your customers. Conference calls, Google hangouts and Skype make meetings with your Euro partners so much easier!

As an exporter, we’ve learned a lot over the years. It can take a lot of time, trial and error before things click and you start making progress. But these are all incredibly valuable lessons, which will only serve to make your success even greater.

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