A critically important strategic initiative
Last week I introduced you to the results of an Alibaba study of UK SMEs and their attitudes toward exporting. We continue with that exploration this week.
The following is an excerpt from that study as reported by Linda Kozlowski, director of Global Marketing and Customer Experience:
“In August this year we conducted a survey of 100 UK small and medium businesses to gain insight into some of their specific concerns when it comes to exporting. It appears that cultural differences and geographical distance play a key role in influencing business decisions, with around 85 per cent of respondents saying that they would not feel confident exporting to Asia—twice the number who were reticent about dealing with Europe. While by no means insurmountable, these problems highlight the need for enhanced advice and education for businesses and serve as a reminder for the government to widely communicate the help that is already available.
There is certainly no shortage of demand for UK exports in the current marketplace trade figures showing metals, food and beverage and automotive items to be particularly popular with global buyers. In April, May and June of this year the most active export markets for the UK were India, China and the US, while closer to home Turkey, Egypt, Greece and Italy showed growing interest in UK export products. It is important that UK businesses continue to build upon strong trade relationships with established markets, while seeking to be more ambitious in branching out to new and emerging regions. User statistics from Alibaba.com demonstrate that in the last year UK suppliers have continued to trade strongly amongst themselves and with other western economies, whereas previously increasing figures for markets such as Ghana and the United Arab Emirates have now dropped off.”
While this focused on the UK, one could almost substitute US without changing the results. In the US responsibility for promoting exports has been codified under the National Export Initiative. Multiple executive branch departments and agencies are collaborating to assist SMEs. Led by the Department of State Foreign Commercial Service, there is a wide range of resources available. They are, however, government resources with all the advantages and disadvantages which that association carries.
The upside is that there is a breadth of resources available to assist companies who are exporting or want to export. The downside is that our bureaucratic system requires expertise to navigate and leverage – and often key assistance from advisers familiar with the programs and expert in drawing upon them as required. But there is no longer any substantial valid reason for most companies not to export.
Consilium is experienced at helping companies considering export as well as those with robust international business development initiatives. It's too important for companies today, and shouldn't be ignored or avoided. Read our White Paper 10 Reasons Why You Need To Export in 2012 and beyond, and contact us to explore how we can help your company generate profitable sales in emerging markets.