To help micro business owners find international customers and create additional revenue streams, the managing director of Plastic Card Services reflects on his firm’s own exporting experiences.
Name: Adam Unsworth
Position: Managing director
Business: Plastic Card Services
Number of employees: 50
Export markets: Predominantly Scandinavia and on a more ad-hoc basis to the rest of the world.
Describe your business in one sentence
Manufacturer of plastic cards and associated services including personalisation, artwork, data processing and mailing and fulfilment.
Describe your business model
To do what we do better than the competition, with an emphasis on service and doing that bit extra. We look to lead the way in the market and evolve through innovation whilst targeting areas we know we can add value.
Why do you export and what’s the impact on your business?
We export primarily because it is good business sense to do so. If you can offer a product that is exportable, then why not?
In addition, there are opportunities to open new channels of work at higher margins obviously adding benefit to the business.
What is the most difficult part of selling internationally?
The difficulties are many, language and cultural variances being the most obvious. However, agreeing procedures for both parties to understand and adhere to, and satisfactory payment terms for both parties can be a real challenge.
In short, the same difficulties as any other customer, just further away.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for other business owners?
Be patient and be prepared to invest. Remember different countries have their own ideas on how business should work which may not coincide with yours. Local knowledge is an advantage, so getting the right people may take time.
Where do you turn to for help?
We work closely with our Trade Advisor at the Department of International Trade.
Brexit: Good or bad for your business?
Today it is bad for business, based purely on the indecision of what is happening and when. What we all need is clear parameters to work with, may it be good or bad news, both are acceptable and manageable in their own way, indecision is fatal. Sadly, that is where we are at present.
Where do you see your business in the next year?
We plan to continue working closely with our Trade Advisor at the Department of International Trade and expand our sales in Europe. At present, with the pound weak against the Euro, value for money buying from the UK is an appealing prospect to the European market. We are hoping to exploit this by using our existing knowledge to increase sales in various European territories.
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