Opening your business to the possibility of directly exporting abroad can be extremely beneficial. If you are considering expanding at all, then you should be looking into direct exporting as a great way to boost turnover.
In fact, the government itself is keen to promote the idea of exporting for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) throughout the UK and the Institute of Export and International Trade is targeting SMEs in its attempts to promote exporting as a viable option and to inform those who are keen to try their luck abroad.
The efforts have resulted in a major upswing in the number of UK SMEs exporting goods overseas, with the Office for National Statistics identifying a 6.6 per cent increase to 9.8 per cent of SMEs last year. Obviously, this is great news for those businesses open to the concept, as evidence suggests exporting leads to growth. However, it means that over 90 per cent of SMEs are still not shipping their goods overseas.
How does direct exporting benefit businesses?
While international trade used to be the reserve of large corporations, the world of ecommerce has opened export as an opportunity to businesses of all sized. Exporting overseas can help boost your turnover, create jobs and become more innovative.
As well as facilitating the process of accessing new overseas customers, ecommerce also allows smaller businesses to appear much larger and more established, which means overseas customers are more likely feel at ease buying goods from a UK business.
One expert, Suren Thiru, economic adviser at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), says that more British firms need to take the step of directly exporting overseas. He stated: “The world is full of opportunities for UK businesses. British brands enjoy high status throughout the world, and they need to exploit this heritage to reach new customers abroad.”
However, this isn’t to say that direct exporting doesn’t come without its challenges. After all, more than 9 out of 10 SMEs are still holding back from exporting.
Why are some SMEs still holding back?
It is thought that many smaller UK businesses feel there is a lack of support for those wanting to broaden their horizons and expand internationally through direct exporting. A survey carried out by YouGov for EasyJet found that 56 per cent of business owners said that this was holding them back and that the government needs to do more.
Business owners claim that exporting to Europe, which seems like the obvious first step in any UK business’s exporting journey, is particularly daunting due to the language issues that must be overcome. This is where working with language translation service providers can help. The right expertise in translation and localisation can make a huge difference to a company’s ability to export with confidence.
How to avoid direct exporting pitfalls
This is another area where working with translation experts can help. Check the list below for factors that will need careful consideration before you begin direct exporting overseas:
- Is your product compliant with trading laws in your target market?
- Will you manufacture overseas as well?
- Do you need a multi-currency account, through a provider like TransferWise?
- How will you handle the logistics of shipping?
- Will you need insurance?
- Do you need a trading license?
Translation and localisation concerns
Although translation is an area that concerns businesses considering export, the challenges are straightforward and can easily be overcome with help from the right experts. Primarily, you may need to look at the translation and possibly localisation of your ecommerce site and other marketing and informational websites, as well as packaging, instructions and other written material.
Marketing as a whole may need to be adapted for local markets and localisation experts can help you avoid embarrassing mistakes and better target consumers in local markets.
A quick case study – Rachel Simpson shoes
Rachel Simpson is a footwear designer who has established an incredibly successful bridal and evening footwear range in the UK and beyond. She kicked off her international expansion with the support of the Department of International Trade (DIT), which helped her to secure stands at two key international trade shows in European markets, which started her off on her exporting journey.
She then set her sites on Japan, which she identified as a potential market for non-traditional, Western-style bridal footwear. The DIT again helped Rachel to break into this more culturally specific and linguistically challenging marketplace with great success.
She now has a website that offers international payment and delivery of goods. But there is still scope for improvement from a translation perspective to ensure her site is fully localised for each of her key markets.
We took care of this challenging job for popular UK buggy and pushchair brand iCandy, who asked us to translate their website for its main global markets, which we did with great success.
For some businesses, direct exporting is the end goal of their global expansion plans. For others, it’s a smaller step in the right direction.
Explore our series of articles on international expansion strategies to find out more, or contact Bubbles translation team today to discuss the translation services your business will need to get up and running with a direct export expansion.
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