Exporting your products or services

In the latest move by the UK government the focus is for businesses to both attract outside investment into the UK as well as export our existing goods.  The full details of the latest instalment of the UK’s Trade and Investment 5 year strategy can be found here

There are various figures covered in the 36 page PDF about how they intend to have a further 5000 companies from the UK exporting into foreign markets by the end of 2014 but one thing hasn’t been made clear.  How do we even talk to new clients in their local language?

I know I’ve mentioned it before and I do not apologies for saying it again but Willy Brandt, Former Chancellor of Germany, famously said;

“If I’m selling to you, I speak your language.  If I’m buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen!”

This has never been more true than in today’s export market, figures branded around by various research agencies all conclude that addressing your target market in their language can increase your export revenue to that country by up to 50%.  In some cases, the export markets have outgrown their UK revenue so much that their domestic market revenue barely reaches 15% of the overall company revenue, now who wouldn’t want that?

The problem which most companies are faced with when embarking upon this journey is the huge world of Legislation, Politics, Colloquialisms, Cultures…in fact the list is endless and having to understand all of them in one go can be overwhelming.  Add this to a list of over 27,000 LSPs, all of whom purport to know how to do it better and it doesn’t just become a minefield, it becomes nigh-on impossible to come to terms with everything that you need to know.

Now therein lays the real export conundrum!

So how do we break this down into something less daunting?

Let me try for you; here are a few simple steps which I usually start off with:

  • Understand your product/ service value
  • Understand your target audience
  • Short-list the countries which have these needs
  • Establish how easy it is to export to these markets
  • ALWAYS engage EARLY with a localisation professional, be that an LSP or otherwise
  • Decide if you want to release your current AND future products/services in staged releases or simultaneously.
  • Choose a realistic time-frame
  • Create a launch campaign
  • Launch
  • Monitor the success accurately
  • Revise and review

These should give you a starting framework upon which to build your export strategy, and remember!

“The core of strategy work is always the same!”

  • Discovering the critical factors in a situation and designing a way of coordinating and focussing actions to deal with those factors.
  1. Diagnosis
  2. Guiding policies
  3. Coherent actions

– Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters A Book by Richard P. Rumelt

Good luck and happy exporting, this will be the best business decision you ever make.