As one of Europe’s leading contract manufacturers, Chemoxy International a company with a long history of exporting. Here, the firm’s commercial director Paula Tinkler tells Business Advice why exporting should be considered key to the growth prospects of any young venture in today’s climate.
After the dramatic result of the EU referendum, one way that UK manufacturers have benefitted is by exploiting the decreased value of the pound to become more competitive in the international marketplace.
The Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) latest small business trends survey, that anticipated growth from export orders among UK businesses, is currently at its highest since 1988.
This is backed up by Bibby Financial Services’ latest quarterly SME Confidence Tracker, which revealed that 15 per cent of the 1,000 small businesses surveyed had invested in export activity during the third quarter of 2016 — a significant increase from a low of 6 per cent in the first three months of 2014.
If you want your business to thrive in the current economic climate and have the best chance of surviving long into the future, I firmly believe that the best thing you can do is try to crack the international marketplace.
Otherwise, if the domestic market weakens or slows down, your business will suffer alongside it. The less you rely on a single stream of income the better, and diversifying your sales portfolio by branching out into the export market will provide a safety net.
Depending on your industry, you may find that legislation varies between economic zones, as do customer preferences and market trends. This can prove an excellent opportunity for expanding your product offering or filling an existing gap in a foreign market.
For example, we found that China has a huge demand for products that reduce the odour of paint that isn’t present in the domestic UK market. Exporting into foreign markets has allowed us to take advantage of opportunities such as this, which has allowed us to almost double our workforce since we started exporting, as well as expand our manufacturing capacity by over 30 per cent.
The diverse demands of foreign markets have not only been a driving force in our increased manufacturing capacity, but also in the developments we’ve made in renewable chemicals. In order to meet the needs of foreign markets, we worked closely with local universities to create products that have helped us establish ourselves in the industry.
Exporting has propelled us into the position of industry leaders, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without it. While delving into the world of international sales comes with its own host of risks — not to mention having to get your head around all the rules and regulations involved — there’s plenty of help out there for any business that wants to take its operation to the next level.
We’ve relied heavily on guidance from experts from our local Chamber of Commerce, NEPIC, and the Chemical Industry Association — all have been more than happy to lend expertise, and there’s sure to be industry specific and government bodies out there that will be more than happy to help you.
Before you get started on your exporting journey, be sure to seek out every avenue of help available so you’re in the strongest position to go forward.
Paula Tinkler is commercial director at Chemoxy International
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