International Trade

Want to win at exporting? Manage the risks first

5 min read

03 December 2018

Reporter, Real Business

What does it take to become a great exporter? Five top business leaders tell us how to strike for success whilst avoiding the easy-to-make mistakes that come with overseas trading.

Running an exporting company is not an easy business. It takes strict planning, strategy and foresight to trade overseas.

So how can you ensure your company sells well and remains compliant when trading beyond your own borders? The answer? You need to hear from the experts first.

Real Business hears from leading exporters and industry experts who are achieving success by navigating the risks before they occur.

Let’s hear from those on the front line of the exporting economy…

Julianne Ponan- owner and CEO, Creative Nature Superfoods

How do you measure success in export markets?

“I measure success in terms of how many competitors we have in the market. That starts by assessing just how big the market is.”

“For example, the market is worth 673 million in the UK, but how much would that be worth in Europe?”

Do you have any hedging policies in place?

“We import and export so the exchange rate is very volatile in the import side.”

“We used to do forwards with various brokers, but we now we buy a lot from the UK and use our surplus stock.”

Richard Valtr- founder, Mews systems

How do you measure success in export markets?

“How do I measure success in the export market? Well, I start by assessing just how quickly we can hope to expand our user base.”

” Added to this is how quickly we can deliver the implementations of software.”

“Essentially it’s all about speed. It’s about asking ourselves how quickly we can get hotels online and get them to start using our product in the best possible way.”

Do you have any hedging policies in place?

“We operate in pounds and euros. But on the whole, we use lots of different currencies.”

“We try to hedge for certain currency fluctuations. We try to be prepared for as many different outcomes a much as possible.”

Ben Knight- co-founder & COO, Croud

How do you measure success in export markets?

“We’re a data agency at heart, so we use data to track what we need to work on in order to succeed in the exports market.”

“Included in this is assessing our language skills. In all, we use resource specialists to make use of the data to track what resources we need to succeed.”

Do you have any hedging policies in place?

“We take payments in everything from euros to American and Australian dollars. Our hedging strategy is very simple and flexible.”

“We’re up for dealing with local currencies from around the world.”

Oliver Whelan- head of corporate acquisition, EMEA, Worldfirst

How do you measure success in export markets?

“To achieve success in the export market you have to start by deciding what success means to your company internally.”

“Start by thinking about what your margin is and ultimately sticking to that as much as possible.”

“If you’re not achieving your margins think about why.”

“Ask yourself, why that’s the case. Are you selling more in bulk or to different types of buyers?”

Do you have any hedging policies in place?

“For any business looking to get into a new market, to get the exposure you want, you have to keep it simple.”

“There are all sorts of financial insurance options out there.”

“These include ‘simple vanilla’ forward contracts with a pre-agreed date set in the future to use to sell an amount of currency back to sterling.”

“This method gives you transparency on what your cost base and margin will be.”

Helen Wang- founder Abakus Foods

How do you measure success in export markets?

“In terms of achieving success, and if you’re trading in physical products, the order itself is important.”

“Think about the rate of the order. How much are they re-ordering, and are they re-ordering at all?”

“I would say those are the key things to monitor if you’re exporting physical products.”

Do you have any hedging policies in place?

“Dealing with Asian currencies is our main remit. But we were trading in sterling when it was very strong last year. Now it’s dropped, we’ve been paying on the spot.”

“Basically you’ve got to be open to change your trading strategy, and in particular the currency you’re using when these fluctuations do occur.”

Want to see these entrepreneurs in action? Watch the full video here.