Last week UK Trade & Investment held its 6th Export Week. This was met by a raft of research further putting international trade on the agenda. A study by KPMG among small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) found over a third have no plans to export. Many argued that regulation and a lack of understanding of overseas markets are major barriers.
In contrast a study by Barclays shows that 65% of SMEs set up during the recession began exporting in their first year, recognising that they cannot rely on the UK alone for growth. More data still from Jobs Outlook suggests 16% of employers plan to expand into the European Union in the next two years and 31% of organisations in the UK could have an international presence.
Whatever way the numbers stack up, there’s no doubt that if the UK business community is to realise the government’s ambition and double exports to reach a £1 trillion by 2020, companies are going to have to up their exporting game.
Exporting – Recruitment’s Role
Many are already doing this. We’re seeing unprecedented demand for our international recruitment service, with clients looking for senior managers – hand-picked for their knowledge of overseas markets – to fast track their export plans.
As the Guardian recently reported, investing in international talent has been a key plank in the successful export strategy of Manchester based Faith Products. Among its 40 employees Faith Products has recruited experts with years of experience of overseas markets. It sees their knowledge as critical to its international expansion plans. As a result the company now sells its Faith in Nature brand in highly competitive markets such as America, Scandinavia and East Asia.
While the percentages of companies likely to export may be up for debate, the experience of businesses like Faith Products make one thing abundantly clear. Companies that want to build an overseas business will find it a whole lot easier if they have the right senior people with the right international experience in place.