So you’d like to take your business global, but where to start? There’s a world of opportunity out there for entrepreneurs prepared to harness the power of cutting-edge technology to receive currency from these new customers. Here’s how to begin transcending borders and establishing new revenue streams today.
Growing your business internationally develops new revenue streams and adds momentum to your operation, and it should feel like a natural extension rather than a leap in the dark. Emerging technology and trade platforms can help address the perceived risk, access to information on how to expand overseas and implementing initial enquiries can all be done across multiple devices.
From our personal experience, we know how intimidating the risks of expanding overseas can seem. But having made the leap and opened offices globally I can assure any hesitant business leader that exporting your brand or service, after the appropriate market research, will fast become your most rewarding work. Embracing new cultures, building operations and establishing new forms of trade across multiple markets, will bring rewards beyond additional revenue streams and an expanded customer base.
Governments have set up comprehensive digital platforms to guide and facilitate homegrown businesses on expanding internationally, and also advise overseas businesses on importing best practices. Digital technology has demystified what was once an intimidating, expensive, high-risk move for SME’s.
Technology is a disruptor that helps businesses trade and connects with prospective buyers overseas. It is because of the opportunity that digital gives to businesses that the British Government has developed great.gov.uk containing latest information, support, contacts and opportunities that UK businesses can easily access to assist building their sales and investment opportunities abroad. As the digital economy continues to rapidly develop around areas such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things it is vital that trade provisions are ambitious enough to foster continued innovation while ensuring consumers have appropriate protections.
I spoke with Tim Flear, the British Consul General and Director of Department for International Trade (DIT) Italy on the digital transformation of global business. Tim is a career diplomat specialising in trade, investment and emerging technologies, from 2011 to 2014 he worked in UK Trade and Investment’s (UKTI) London headquarters, prior to that he promoted the UK’s creative sector. Tim’s global market insight includes his diplomatic postings in Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul where he headed the embassy’s inward investment operation and science and technology activities. His last posting was as Her Majesty’s Consul General in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
How do you help businesses equip themselves for a global market and overseas trade?
Increasingly trade is about digital connectivity at a whole host of different levels: presenting an international shop-front, participating in international events, tapping into international trade exchanges, developing overseas partnerships, developing international supply and demand chains. In addition, getting access to trade finance. Digital processes are critical, increasingly, in all of these areas and we can provide support to UK firms that want to extend their international footprint. But we’re merely the facilitator – companies need to do the heavy lifting. The Department for International Trade has built Great.gov.uk, a digital platform that has been designed to help UK businesses secure their place on the global stage. On the site UK businesses are not only given access to tender opportunities from other countries, but they are also given practical and relevant information, advice and support that can help them take those first steps to establish themselves and their goods and services in new markets.
Since launch it has been visited by over 3.9 million users and has extended the reach of export and investment services to thousands of UK businesses. The platform was launched in November 2016 and is host to a suite of tools that have been designed to help small and medium-sized businesses in the UK connect and trade with buyers in overseas markets.
Great.gov.uk has also been created as a destination for prospective overseas investors. Since this part of the site was launched we have already received over 2,000 enquiries regarding potential investments into the UK.
UK businesses are signing up and using the digital tools that we have built for them. Our Export Opportunities service gives UK businesses access to over 8,000 tender opportunities from around the world. UK businesses are also creating their own Business Profile, through which they can present themselves and connect with overseas buyers. And our Selling Online Overseas service also gives UK businesses preferential rates for using online marketplaces, such as Alibaba, Rakuten and others.
Do you see the rise of digital as a threat or an opportunity for international trade?
Without a doubt, it is an opportunity. The UK is a strong supporter of modern and ambitious digital provisions in trade. The UK believes that the Digital Economy, and E-Commerce, in particular, is an important driver to wider economic growth. Opportunities often require change, which can be seen as a threat. Our role is to encourage UK companies to participate in markets wherever they arise. Inevitably this will mean that certain companies will adapt quicker than others. But there are clear opportunities for the taking and the UK is well up to the task.
What are the 3 areas that you feel businesses should be focusing on to maximise international trade as digital becomes even more dominant?
Having a digital presence is vital for businesses. It is their shop-window to the world. Through it, overseas customers can learn about them and their products or services. Many businesses have adopted a customer-service solutions that help them build their reputation and grow their business. Like offering a good experience, customer service doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Our job at the Department for International Trade is to help businesses connect as seamlessly as possible, helping and supporting them to grow. Please contact us for assistance.
Business owners must leverage digital technology to tackle geographical realities and heed the information provided by their Government to ensure their international trade strategy is future proofed. Shifting politics is an ongoing reality, but market research, an innovative business model with digital at its heart and using universally applied tactics you can secure revenue streams around the world.
This article was written by Matt Lynch from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCredpublisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.