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Advanced Engineering 2020

NEC, Birmingham(B40 1NT)

04/11/2020 - 05/11/2020

The UK's largest annual advanced manufacturing trade show, Advanced Engineering is your opportunity to (more)

Drives & Controls Exhibition

NEC, Birmingham(B40 1NT)

25/01/2021 - 27/01/2021

The show brings together key suppliers of state-of-the-art equipment representing the multi-tasking culture (more)

PPMA Show 2020

NEC, Birmingham(B40 1NT)

28/09/2021 - 30/09/2021

PPMA Show 2020 is the UK’s largest ever event dedicated to state-of-the-art processing and packaging (more)

Small business? Become a big business exporter

When you think of exporting, it's easy to be put off. Mental images of crates stacked on cargo ships shuttling their way across the oceans is enough to give anyone the impression that exporting is for the big guns - a distant dream for the future, perhaps, but certainly not something for a small business to consider. Indeed, some people may already be exporting and not realise it. The fact is, as soon as you sell overseas, you're exporting.

Perhaps this misconception is why only 32 per cent of SMEs in Britain are exporting, and thereby missing out on the bounty of demand for British goods and services out there. In my capacity as Director of UKTI London, I'd like to reverse this trend so that small and medium sized companies can tap into global demand, boost their revenues and take their business to the world.

I'm always keen to remind businesses that exporting is accessible and an option for businesses of any size - from the smallest micros to the well-known brands. With developments in e-commerce; access to UKTI's armoury of advice, funds and support and a good bit of old fashioned business instinct, the world really is your oyster - and, if you sell oysters, the world could soon be buying them.  

I want small businesses like you to know that exporting not only boosts your revenues, it can help your business become more resilient, more efficient and more profitable. Research also shows that 59 per cent of companies who began exporting also saw it lead to a wave of innovation and fresh new ideas which enhanced their goods and services.

That's why I'm setting out five top tips for small businesses - to show how you could soon be taking your business to the world.

1. Get help: Research shows that after just 18 months of working with UKTI, firms earn on average a massive £100,000 in additional sales. We at UKTI pride ourselves on this and, with the help of our specialist International Trade Advisers (ITAs), you could be one of them. By speaking with one of our ITAs, you can build a bespoke export plan suited to your business needs.

In fact, UKTI's 'Export Week - Grow Your Business', coming up on the 7-11 April, will provide companies across the capital with another opportunity to access UKTI services directly. The week-long series of workshops and seminars will give you an insight into exporting. And the range is impressive- from a Master Class on exporting in the Creative sectors to a workshop on 'Doing business in the United States'.

2. One step at a time: It will be tempting to pursue multiple markets at once but it's often best to focus on one or two markets at first. Though it might be the case that you encounter lots of potential business opportunities at once, by focusing on one or two markets you can really get a foothold and focus your energies on getting it right.

3. Show me the money: Once you've found your ideal market, it's important to get to know the currency you will be dealing with. Consult foreign exchange providers as they have a wealth of experience and knowledge. Speak to your bank as well as your International Trade Adviser about letters of credit and export finance.

4. It's the little things that make a big difference: Failure to take account of different cultures may lead to damaging or costly mistakes. This could range from causing offence by not observing protocol to using inappropriate packaging or marketing. In Japan, for instance, never put someone's business card in your back pocket as it's considered rude. It's best to take it in your hand and acknowledge it with a slight bow. Cultural faux pas are numerous, but with research and some gentle advice from your trade adviser, it's a minefield you can easily navigate.

5. Good things come to those who wait: Setting up overseas may not move as quickly as you expected; local customs and legislation can often slow things down. But if you remain patient the rewards will very soon make themselves known to you.

So, the first step to grow your business is clear: pick up the phone and call UKTI on 44 (0)20 7215 5000 or email to speak to one of our excellent trade advisers. Or, to hear more about the events happening across the capital during Export Week visit You can also email us on: Take a few minutes to contact us and find out if there are potential new customers for your products and services overseas.

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