The business secretary Vince Cable has marked out the direction of the UK’s place on the global stage with a bold statement – “we see the future of the UK as a knowledge economy.” Championing the best in professional services, science and research and development, Mr Cable is incredibly positive about the impact and value that we have across the world.
If the government and UK’s focus is on driving our know-how and expertise worldwide, how do you start to sell your services overseas to make the most of emerging markets?
Service exports make up about a quarter of UK international trade. UK businesses are major exporters in sectors such as financial services and consulting and we’ve helped many of the UK’s biggest consultancy firms like PWC and Aecom deliver training and projects worldwide.
The EU Services Directive has removed many barriers to service businesses established in a member state to easily provide services throughout the EU, so it may be wise to look within the EU as your first step to offering your services overseas. It sounds obvious, but being close to home can help – even if there are language barriers!
Whether you are importing or exporting services, many of the same basic rules apply as for trade in physical goods. But there are key differences, from how services are marketed to the taxes and regulations that apply.
Delivering Services internationally
There are four different ways in which your professional services business can be delivered internationally, all which have connotations for the translation services you employ:
- Cross-border trade. This may be your first step into offering your service abroad as it takes the least investment in translation – but it is difficult to obtain larger and more in-depth contracts via this method. This is where you and your customer are in your own countries, while the service travels internationally. This approach is for services like consulting, where it can be provided by phone or over the internet.
- Consumption overseas. The customer visits your home country, where you provide the service. An example of this is international travel and tourism services or training seminars.
- Setting up overseas. This is where you establish a presence in your customer’s country. We’ve helped law firms and financial services providers open branch offices overseas.
- Movement of individuals. People from your company who will provide the service travel to your customer’s country. We’ve helped companies like Ernst & Young, when their architects travel overseas to work on designing a building there.
Each of these supply methods have important implications on the laws and taxes that apply in each country. If you travel to another country to supply a service, you might be liable to pay local taxes on your earnings there! Get in touch if you need legal translation or contract translation so you know exactly where you stand.
You’ve also got to be mindful and take great care that you do not accidentally supply your service overseas. If you offer financial services on your website, it might be seen in countries where this is illegal without a licence. It’s incredibly important that you have someone with native speaking specialists and preferably post-graduate educated experts to look over these documents before you embark on your overseas growth campaign.
We’re here to help you embark on a profitable growth plan overseas by providing professional translation services for all of your documentation to help you attract and convert new clients. We help with translating marketing materials from brochures to websites, through to press releases and all post sale collateral too – such as contracts and legal terms and conditions.
With over 10 years of helping the world’s biggest and most discerning professional services companies succeed overseas, you can rest assured we can help you.