While diverse in nature, for the business community, both these events highlight the value of taking a global perspective and exploring trade opportunities beyond the British Isles.
Though currently only one in five UK SMEs are active in foreign markets, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne estimates an extra £400 million could be generated annually if small businesses’ export ambitions were better supported.
On an individual level too, SMEs could stand to benefit from aiming their sights overseas, as the average small business sees productivity rise by more than a third (34 per cent) in the first year of exporting, according to UK Trade and Investment (UKTI). In light of these benefits, Aldermore has put together a list of the best online export information sources to encourage a greater number of SMEs to pursue overseas trade in 2014.
Open to Export
Open to Export is a dedicated export community, supported by the government and launched in conjunction with UKTI, the Federation of Small Businesses, Hibu and the Institute of Exports. The portal offers a wide range of subject and country-specific export guides and a glossary of useful contacts. Moving beyond this though, the Open to Export site also houses a discussion forum where SMEs can have their questions answered directly by experts and share experiences with other members of the business community.
London Loves Business 5 step export roadmap
Compiled in conjunction with logistics specialists UPS, the London Loves Business roadmap to exporting success provides a succinct explanation of the steps small businesses must take to begin trading internationally. Using statistics, expert commentary and recent case studies from successful small British businesses like Tangle Teezer, the guide talks SMEs through the exporting process and common hurdles in an accessible, easy to understand way.
The Guardian small business network’s exporting Q&A
Last September, the Guardian’s small business network held a live question and answer session titled, ‘A beginner’s guide to exporting,’ with a panel of renowned business leaders and international trade advisors. The roundup from this event features a whole host of valuable tips and advice, with a particular focus on exporting to the US, Europe and China.
HMRC’s guide to importing and exporting
Understanding the legal regulations surrounding overseas sales can be one of the most difficult challenges for small businesses, often with significant cost implications if legislation is not correctly followed. To help SMEs overcome this issue and embark on international expansion, HM Revenue and Customs have created this comprehensive document outlining the legal procedures involved in importing and exporting.
UKTI events calendar
For those looking to boost their learning further, UKTI hold a number of, often free, events across the UK aimed at supporting SMEs on their road to overseas growth, listed in their online events calendar. With options to filter events by destination market, industry, price and date range, companies can quickly find the most relevant upcoming events for their business. By taking advantage of resources like these, Aldermore hopes to see more UK small businesses begin to realise their export potential this June.