Five tips for opening up new export markets


The export market can be highly profitable for entrepreneurial businesses with an ambitious mindset and an eye for opportunity. Here are some valuable tips for first-time exporters.


Research your market. Decide on a single country that best suits your business, product or service and take one market at a time. For example, the Republic of Ireland, Denmark and the Netherlands are geographically close to home and share many cultural similarities.


Manage cashflow and insure against risk. Lengthy transit times and extended credit terms can put a huge strain your finances. Visit the UK Export Finance website and ask your bank about letters of credit and invoice finance, which creates instant revenue through your sales ledger.


Get sound advice. The government’s UK Trade & Investment team offers SMEs valuable support and information on overseas markets, including trade missions. Also, speak to a commercial law firm about how best to handle import restrictions, regulatory issues and sales contracts.


See for yourself. Taking a first-hand look gives you a valuable feel for market conditions on the ground, so factor in a travel budget. You may need to fly out more than once to establish an effective trading presence. Getting a grasp of local business etiquette will also pay dividends.


Take the time to get your paperwork right. The Export Control Organisation (ECO) has to return half of all export licence applications, either for more information or because the application has been wrongly completed.


Damian Walmsley is a partner at Moore and Smalley