Reasons your startup should export

It’s never been easier to export, with the internet providing key information as well as a platform for businesses to sell from, and with organisations such as UKTI providing support for businesses at all stages. In a recent survey we ran, only 27% of startups surveyed currently export – but 53% plan to, with their sights set on regions as diverse as Asia, the Middle East, mainland Europe and America.

35% of our respondents wanted to export in order to expand, 52% believed there was demand for their product outside the UK, and 9% were keen to raise awareness of their business. However, a huge 70% are put off by expense, 45% by red tape, and 20% felt intimidated by the process.

So why should your startup export, anyway? Here are the key reasons exporting can help your business.

Increase your revenue

Simple maths – the more you’re selling in any location, the more money you’ll make (hopefully). Exporting gets your product in front of a larger market, meaning potentially you can make bigger sales. Selling larger volumes can often be more cost-efficient too. For example, if you were selling greetings cards, the cost to order and print 100 cards would be much more inefficient than ordering and printing 1000 – doing things in bulk saves you money.

Build knowledge

As you sell in different countries and regions, you’ll learn a lot more about your audience, and also about your industry. You’ll discover what people outside of the UK think of your product, how your industry works internationally, how to sell to countries outside of the UK, and more. This knowledge means you can work smarter in your home country too.

Spreads risk

Selling in other countries is sort of like divvying up your eggs so they’re not all in one basket. If things aren’t going so well in one country, there’s the chance that things could be going better in another. This even comes down to things such as seasons and events through the year. For example, if you find things really slow at Christmas in one country, you might find little to no change in another; and if your business is heavily geared towards the summer, exporting to somewhere like Australia could help pick up the slack when things get icy here.

Raises your profile

Getting your product or service in countries outside the UK also gets people talking about you, or at least knowing that you exist. Even if not everyone who finds out about you becomes a direct customer, getting on peoples’ radar is a huge positive. You’re getting into new markets, opening up future channels of trade, and widening your customer base.

Attract better staff

The best employees are ambitious and eager to push themselves, and in such a globalised world any business that operates in more than one country is a huge draw. More countries means more opportunities for your employees as well as for your business, which in turn attracts the brightest and the best.

British products are desirable

The ‘Made in Britain’ tag is one with huge cachet internationally. It’s a byword for quality and tradition, and in a global marketplace where standards can be variable it’s a sign that your product can be trusted.

Aside from reassuring buyers about the items’ quality, British culture and heritage is often a big draw for buyers overseas – just think about brands such as Heinz, Burberry, and of course Virgin itself. There’s a considerable market out there for British brands – could you be part of it?

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