There are plenty of reasons why businesses are now more globalised – the internet, international trade agreements, new purchasing power in emerging economies.But it’s also down to the bottom line. For two years running, Regus research has shown that exporting firms enjoy greater revenue and profit growth than firms that only operate domestically. A US study shows exporting companies not only grow faster, but are over 8 per cent less likely to go out of business than non-exporters. The case for exporting is convincing, but it is still a large step, especially for SMEs. Here are five tips for making it work: 1. Get out your atlas Many of the world’s “new” export markets are vast, and it pays to look beyond the better-known cities. For example, in Brazil, the UK Trade & Investment department states that in the “second-tier” city of Recife, “access to contacts is easier and less competitive than in the more established Brazilian markets”. And India’s fastest-growing cities include second- and third-tier cities like Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Indore and Nagpur, while better-known cities like Bangalore may already be saturated. Lower-tier cities often have a greater talent pool and offer incentives such as state and regional support and low-tax enterprise zones. So it’s worth thinking regionally, not just in the BRICs but in developed countries. 2. You’re never alone There are numerous resources available to would-be exporters. Government bodies like UK Trade & Investment provide numerous services, including local market information and introductions, market research, and advice on financial support available in specific regions and sectors. Other valuable sources of information and support include local embassies and consulates, chambers of commerce, and trade associations. Businesses already active in a country often smooth the way for others. In our centres we constantly see customers gaining useful tips from their fellow customers or our staff – from a recommendation for a good law firm, to good steers on local accommodation or partners. 3. Research, research, and then more research For companies thinking about expanding to a new market, the first things to research are:
- Is there a market for its products?
- Can it compete with local firms and other suppliers?
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