You could win gold this summer. The Olympics come with many business disruptions, but if you're prepared they might just be your ticket to global markets.
The UK’s super summer of national events is in now in full swing with the Olympic Games, the most anticipated event of 2012, right around the corner. I'm sure you've heard this a lot, but with this year’s events expected to attract attention from audiences across the globe, UK businesses need to be prepared: both to handle the increase in demand and to maximise the opportunity for ongoing business from global markets.
We’ve pulled together our top 5 tips help businesses use the summer’s events to ensure the delivery of long term gold.
1. Get the basics right
With consumer spending expected to increase by £750m and an anticipated 5.3 million visitors planning to visit the capital this summer, business looks set to boom. However, business success can only be delivered if you’re prepared.
The increase of visitors to London will significantly impact the transport network; so having contingencies in place to ensure limited disruption to your business deliveries is vital.
You should consider re-routing your deliveries to avoid the Olympic Route Network (ORN), re-timing your deliveries so they’re travelling outside of peak times, or revising your selected mode of transport.
To beat congestion, a number of innovative workarounds are being put in place by different businesses - for example jogging couriers and deliveries by motorcycle.
2. Meet demand
While considering the impact of the influx of visitors, you should also be mindful that the increase is a real opportunity for growth, so ensure there is a provision of goods to cater for the boost in demand.
You may want to consider scheduling deliveries of stock, parts, materials etc. to arrive in advance of the events, to ensure your business is in a position to maximise profit, rather than struggle as a result of the extra interest.
3. Monitor interest
With visitors coming to the capital from across the globe, and even more likely to be eagerly tuning in to watch the action, the exposure of UK brands to international markets is potentially great. So, it’s important to capitalise on this attention and the sentiment to ‘buy British’.
Businesses can use the summer as a test bed, keeping a close eye on where the greatest demand presents itself. In what types of industries? For which products?
Identifying those countries that have an appetite for a product or service is perhaps one of the biggest hurdles for businesses looking to trade internationally for the first time. Researching your target market, once identified, to gain a greater understanding of how the market operates, both in terms of business governance but also cultural nuances, will ensure the business is in strong position to use the Olympics as a platform to kick-start exporting.
4. Make your move
Post-Olympics, once your exporting programme’s in place, you need to be ready to deal with international orders.
You should ensure that you have a robust logistics operation in place to manage the international delivery of goods, which should also include returns procedures. Creating an exporting plan is the best way to gauge how the operation will work in practice and will allow you to easily identify any areas of concern.
5. Seek advice
Having experienced fluctuating levels of decline since the recession hit in 2008, the super summer of 2012 is exactly what the UK economy needs to kick start growth. The excitement and attention that this summer’s events will attract for the UK is an opportunity not to be missed.
Businesses willing to maximise this as a platform for growth should seek professional support to get their plans off the ground.
DHL Express offers help and advice to businesses planning on expanding internationally with export services, including country specific ‘how-to-guides’ that provide information on customs rules and regulations that govern overseas markets.
A further source of information is the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), which offers a range of services for UK exporters, including a flexible business tool called the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS). The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) also offers export training services.
Francis Ktenidis is senior director for UK Operations Programmes and Performance at DHL.