In spite of the financial fears surrounding Brexit, UK export continues to thrive. According to HMRC, November 2016 saw a £4.5bn increase in trade exports when compared to the same month in 2015 which comes as a welcome boost to businesses looking to expand in this field.
So what steps can growing export businesses take to ensure that they make the most of this continued surge in opportunities? We take a look at some of the marketing and financing options available to all UK business sectors which can help to facilitate continued growth when trading with overseas partners.
1.SECURE COMPETITIVE RATES FROM SUPPLIERS
No matter where you sit in the overall supply chain, financing the production and delivery of larger orders can often be the biggest inhibitor of rapid growth. A sudden spike in business is obviously a great thing, but you may simply not have the capital to pay for these orders up front, leaving you at the mercy of your suppliers credit terms.
New or growing export businesses are often held back by the less competitive rates offered by suppliers when this is the case, but finance solutions are available to help expedite growth. Trade finance is perhaps the most widely used of these, helping to fund your own suppliers with upfront payments so that you're treated like a cash buyer. Taking on and delivering these larger orders can quickly lead to exponential growth, ensuring that you don't lose business to competitors due to a lack of cash flow.
2.NETWORK THROUGH TRADE SHOWS AND EXHIBITIONS
Networking comes in multiple forms and is an essential facet for any business looking to grow their customer base. Whilst cold calling and direct marketing can undoubtedly yield positive results, there are no guarantees that your efforts will engage true decision makers or even reach them at all.
Trade shows and exhibitions are rife in the UK with the Birmingham NEC, London ExCel and London Olympia just three of the many locations in which they are held. Although these attract many international visitors, there are thousands of international events organised globally which can connect you directly with international buyers.
Depending on your industry, these events can attract in excess of 100,000 visitors and a well thought out marketing strategy almost always produces profitable export leads. You only have to look at the high percentage of repeat bookings to see that businesses benefit greatly from these opportunities.
3.OFFER COMPETITIVE INVOICE REPAYMENT TERMS
As well as seeking competitive rates and repayment terms from your own suppliers, being able to offer the same to your customers can be a great asset when it comes to winning new business.
One of the biggest obstacles that export businesses face when it comes to offering generous invoice repayment terms is the dip in cash flow whilst waiting for these to be paid. Many smaller businesses simply do not have the cash reserves to operate whilst waiting 90 days or more for larger orders to be settled.
Invoice discounting is commonly used by British businesses to offset this risk. Rather than waiting months for payments to be made, a large percentage of each raised invoice can be advanced to you almost immediately, leaving you to invest these funds in future orders without affecting cash flow.
4.OUTSOURCE CREDIT CONTROL
Creating, implementing and managing a smooth credit control team can be a real headache for SMEs. Working within export, you may need to deal with businesses across multiple time zones, languages and currencies in an effort to get paid on time and in full.
Invoice factoring works in a similar way to invoice discounting however, as well as receiving an advance on raised invoices, your factoring partner will take on almost all credit control facilities on your behalf. They'll be responsible for chasing payments and credit profiling new customers as well as building healthy relationships with these companies.
5. INVEST IN SOCIAL MEDIA
Whether you're a fledgling export business with just a few members of staff or an established player in your particular field, the importance of a strong social media presence cannot be overstated.
In today's digital age, the scope for reaching out to international clients is wider than ever before thanks to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. These three mediums alone can not only help to generate more leads for your growing business, but can quickly and accessibly tell the world about your products, branding, ethos, experience, testimonials, and much, much more.
Creating an active, engaged following for your business is a far cry from managing a personal account and, although great quality social campaigns come at a price, the rewards can be huge. Working capital finance can be used in almost any area of your business, including online and social marketing, so don't be afraid to take the bold step of investing heavily in this area, particularly when it comes to export.
Register your company profile with Capitalise today and we'll be able to quickly and easily match your business with specialist lenders who have a proven track record supporting businesses within your sector. It takes just 3 minutes to sign up, and you'll be able to manage multiple applications from one central hub, leaving you to focus on what matters most – growing your export business.