Ten reasons for businesses to export

The LEP works in partnership with UKTI to support businesses in Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield, and York to export. Here, Mark Robson, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, counts down his Top Ten reasons for businesses to export.

On the back of the success of the Government’s ongoing Exporting is GREAT initiative to inspire and support an additional 100,000 businesses to trade abroad by 2020, here are 10 key reasons to expand your horizons and look for new customers overseas as well as in the UK.

  1. Reach more customers: There are lots of customers overseas so why restrict your market?
  2. Technological evolution: The rapid and relentless improvements in technology make our world an ever smaller and increasingly accessible marketplace with e-commerce providing much greater connectivity. The internet and email are now the norm for people and businesses to communicate and source information. It is easier for every business to trade overseas but we are ahead of the rest of the world on E Commerce and that gives you a competitive edge for a while.
  3. Spreading risk: Exporting spreads financial and business risk by widening your footprint and sales across a larger range of markets and customers in different countries.
  4. Reduce seasonality: Exporting evens out seasonal demand by allowing you to provide your products and services to accommodate needs. You can create a sales schedule to maximise opportunities in seasonal markets.
  5. Increases productivity, efficiency and profits: Research shows that exporting is great for businesses of all sizes: by making them more productive, innovative and resilient to economic downturn, achieving a stronger bottom line, enhancing reputation and profile and ultimately making them more likely to stay in business.
  6. Extends product lifecycle: Exporting can enhance cash flow and sustainability – an extended range of markets offering an increased number of contracts and clients with subsequent financial benefits. It can also extend the product lifecycle – by catering for the needs of different clients in different parts of the world over a longer timespan based on seasonal demand.
  7. Competitive advantage: Exporting helps you to keep pace with your competitors – some of them will undoubtedly be trading overseas – even though you may not know it - and benefiting from doing so.
  8. Encourages innovation: Exporting drives innovation in your products and services as you discover and implement new ideas and opportunities to meet the needs of clients in different countries.
  9. British products are in demand: Exporting can exploit the fact that Brand Britain is in big demand. Around the world, British products are seen to represent quality and luxury and particularly in high-end fashion labels that trade on their ‘Britishness’.
  10. Support is available: Lots of the costs and difficulties associated with exporting have been made cheaper and easier in the last few years: translation of materials, travel, finding and contacting people, documentation etc. and there is lots of support and advice available from UKTI and others ukti.gov.uk

For all of the reasons above, it’s a good idea to consider exporting – it benefits not only your business but the whole of UK plc through you contributing directly to an improved economic performance by the nation.

Yes, there are obviously challenges and issues when exporting but, for many, selling overseas is just a bit different, not necessarily that difficult. It can be as easy as putting a product in a packet and posting it to someone in another country or for businesses with non-physical products, just selling a licence or sticking an attachment to an email.

So the potential for Leeds City Region businesses to reach new customers and potentially lucrative new markets beyond the UK has never been greater. There are some 1800 export opportunities on the Exporting is GREAT website alone.

UKTI and our partner organisations remain determined to help local companies succeed globally. We’re working with thousands of companies across the region to do just that and are here to help many more.

The world has become an open door and businesses across the City Region should be pushing on it.

Find your export opportunity visit exportingisGREAT.gov.uk.

If you would like an informal conversation to explore your business support options, please contact the LEP’s business support helpline on 0113 348 1818.