This is a guest blog post from the Department for International Trade, who we welcomed to the freshest breakfast networking event in Leeds, Brekking Boundaries, sponsored by Eagle Labs and Consillio Marketing. The next event will take place on Thursday 24th October. It’s free to sign up and breakfast is on us!

On average businesses see a 34% increase in productivity in their first year of exporting and 85% of companies say exporting has led to a level of growth not otherwise possible*. 

However, the UK represents less than 1% of the global population. There are more buyers, consumers and service users out there who are looking for your goods. However, many businesses can find taking the first steps to exporting quite daunting, so here are 5 steps to help you on your journey…

Step 1

Create an Export Plan

The most important thing a business can do to grow internationally is create an export plan. A well-structured plan will make sure you have thought about all the possibilities, reviewed your available financial and staff resources, chosen a logical way forward and set targets to keep you on track.

You will find lots of advice on the Department for International Trade’s GREAT website and can benefit from their International Trade Adviser network. Working with an International Trade Adviser will give you access to a wealth of knowledge and experience and they will be able to assist you throughout your export journey, linking you in with trade missions and export opportunities. They can work with you over a period of time to take you from new exporter to an experienced exporter looking at many markets.

Step 2

Select your market(s)

Define your target markets. To do this, you can consider a range of potential overseas markets, and then select a few or a region for further investigation, based on sound market research. You will want to ensure your product or service is attractive to customers and stands out from the competition. Be aware of any changes you will need to make, including compliance with technical standards in a market.

Step 3

Choose a route to market

Establish how you’ll sell your product or service. You may want to sell directly to end users, sell via wholesalers or retailers, use partners (agent/distributor), set up a local office or enter into a joint venture. You can compare the options available to you on the Department for International Trade’s GREAT website and trade missions can be a great way to make key contacts in market. 

Step 4

Assess your costs and pricing

Consider the additional costs involved in selling into overseas markets, taking into account currency, payment terms, freight and carriage charges, import duties and taxes and commission to partners. Do this up front to ensure you set a realistic price.

Step 5

Plan for market development

Whether the objective is to sell directly or via partners, you should plan how you’re going to develop your product or service once you are exporting into your chosen markets. Consider how often you will need to make market visits and how you will communicate with key contacts.  Research the opportunities the market holds for further expansion such as strong trade links with neighbouring markets, and build these into your plan for growth.

There has never been a better time to grow your business overseas with demand for Yorkshire and the Humber products and services all around the world. 

To find out more about the support and/or funding that might be available to you contact the Department for International Trade at and book an appointment with an International Trade Adviser today. For other regions in the North West, find your closest contact here.

The next Brekking Boundries session will take place at Avenue HQ East Parade in Leeds, with an introduction to Agile Strategy.

Sarah Hetherington

Sarah Hetherington

Marketing Associate at Avenue HQ

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