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UK International Trade: export proposition

Written by Darren Elliott

Having recently completed another UKTI workshop, there were some real gems of information I wanted to share and make available to readers.

One of the company brands is www.tlcuk.biz and albeit heavily involved for several years in the legal documentation side of things for couples getting married abroad, TLC UK were being asked by companies wanting to set up and trade internationally to translate and legalise their business documents for registration purposes.

This growth in activity (initially accidental and not by design) caught the attention of the Directors and so began the journey of developing an export proposition, which having signed up to the Passport to Export programme meant attending numerous workshops each dedicated to the key pieces of the jigsaw which needed to be put together.

So off to course number 2 on developing an International Business. A two day course held in Bath. And what a revelation and investment to have attended! The courses are arranged through www.ukti.gov.uk

There are many areas which were worked through, which provided a logical path to help deliver a mindset that makes you view ‘exporting’ in the way you need too plus empower you to give all round consideration to issues so you can understand the consequence of an action in all areas within your business.

This workshop on international trade dealt with the following areas:

  • Differentiating yourself
  • Promoting yourself
  • Selecting a market
  • Options for market entry
  • Selecting partners
  • Managing partners
  • Finance & resources
  • Trading issues (including getting paid)

Within each area there were tasks to perform and it would appear from feedback from the lecturers that those attending fall into 3 groups of equal amounts.

One third will succeed. One third will dabble. One third will not do anything.

The common denominator which separated the ‘groups’ was ‘time’.

Those which made ‘time’ following the course were more likely to succeed than those that didn’t. It requires a co-ordinated, well resourced (even if limited) and well disciplined action plan.

The SMART objective (although covered mid-way through the course) for my money actually is the starting point once the decision has been made that exporting is the way to go for your business.

SMART is defined as S – specific, M – measurable, A – achievable, R – realistic and T – time-bound.

It’s a ‘napkin’ business plan which says clearly states what you are going to do (S), a target or something quantifiable so you know when you are there (M), how it is going to be achieved (A), not setting the benchmark so high that on paper sounds great but in reality it’s never going to happen, so making it realistic (R) and a timeframe/timetable of delivering what it is you say you’re going to do (T).

Interestingly, this SMART thinking isn’t the reserve of exporting it is a technique used by many SME’s in running businesses. It’s a great tool to use, so wild ideas, no matter how great and potentially life changing is filtered out, so only the achievable is delivered for both business and personal gain.

As with some of the other blogs posted on the site, gems of information taken from the course will be given in shorter individual blogs.

Written by Darren Elliott