Supply chain · 10 February 2016

How your micro business can matchmake the way to success this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day
Micro firms need to work with reliable partners who can deliver on time

Relationships are important whether personal or business, so with Valentine’s Day nearly upon us it’s time to recognise the need for good working alliances.

After all, with customers and investors alike, developing good relationships can help businesses – regardless of their size – succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

As well as being one of the most important times of the year for celebrating relationships, 14 February is big business for a variety of retailers. Expenditure predictions for Britain remain exceptionally high at this time each year with around £1.6bn to be spent on gifts.

Therefore, the importance of solid contacts and a joined up support network should never be underestimated – since without strong business partnerships, these opportunities would arguably be difficult to capitalise on, whether in the UK or overseas.

Business affairs of the heart

Business relationships with those close to you are undeniably important, but since the government has pledged to double the UK’s export market, international relations are set to become even more crucial.

The government is aiming to reach the £1tn in exports target by 2020, and so the 5.2m SMEs in the UK – of which five million are micro businesses – are increasingly being encouraged to take advantage of the range of prospects available overseas. This is a trend we anticipate will continue to grow as business confidence increases.

In fact, the second installment of the FedEx “Great British Export Report” not only reveals how British SMEs and micro businesses are making a positive contribution to tackling the trade deficit – by exporting more than they’re importing – but that in five years’ time 50 per cent of owners believe their trade will be both domestic and international.

As we move further into 2016, we’re hoping to see an even larger number of micro business owners flirting with the idea of doing business with the world – and we’ve seen first-hand how exploring international markets can have a positive impact on business growth.

New romances

To access the growth potential of emerging markets, micro business leaders need to be smart in identifying new trading opportunities, trading partners and accessing new markets. As many micro businesses don’t have the time or expertise to focus on the infrastructure and delivery of products, each need to work with a reliable partner who can walk leaders through the challenges of cross-border trading and ultimately deliver their products on time.

An example of a small business that is close to my heart is Lauden Chocolate, an artisanal chocolatier reaping the rewards of international connectivity and experiencing sweet success the world over.

A match made in (chocolate) heaven

Owned by true chocolate lovers, Lauden Chocolate believes its creations are an art form and has been producing high-end, fine chocolates for over seven years. Founded by a husband and wife team, Lauden Chocolate now exports around the world to countries including China and Japan.

In the latter, the business has reaped huge rewards from capitalising on a unique Valentine’s Day tradition, where every business owner in the country gifts their employees with chocolates. As an artisanal chocolate company with the highest standards, it’s crucial the chocolates arrive at the destination in precisely the same condition as they left.

Love that lasts

Optimism is mounting in the micro business community, with a period of prosperity on the horizon – and exporting is vital to this. Owing to the hard work undertaken by the express transportation sector in business matchmaking, micro businesses of today have the ability to grow in ways that were previously unimaginable for past business generations.

Therefore, building and maintaining lasting relationships with people you can trust is important and braving the leap with a faithful logistics partner by your side will enable your company to successfully grow overseas.

If you’re in the process of building up your supply chain, don’t miss this article on the most important first steps.

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David Poole is managing director of sales, UK South at FedEx Express and FedEx UK. FedEx Express is the world’s largest express transportation company, providing fast and reliable delivery to every US address, as well as more than 220 countries and territories.