Being in Belfast brings Brexit closer to home as we have clients and associates on both sides of the Irish border. It is difficult to imagine the loss of the frictionless border after so many, for so long, have built their lives around it. It is integral to the local economies of both Northern Ireland (NI) and the Republic of Ireland (RoI). For example, up to a third of NI’s dairy is processed in RoI and Irish businesses like Kerry Group, Glanbia and Lakeland have infrastructure in NI. There is an island-wide trade network that is crucial to both the NI and RoI economies.
A successful Brexit for UK companies is dependent upon well-established connections with our closest trading partners in Europe and, crucially, expanding the United Kingdom’s trade with other nations outside the EU. To jeopardise the UK’s closest ties, would not be a good precedent for the future of trade.
The question is – How can businesses prepare today to ensure they are ready for what Brexit holds?
- Recognise the time for new opportunities
It is time to take the leap. Brexit means that you can no longer rely on your traditional networks, but instead provides the chance to open your business up to new markets. The UK’s biggest market outside of the EU is the US market. Data from HMRC shows, in 2017, that the UK exported £45b into the US – the highest amount to any single market.
SMEs are typically catapulted into new markets by two driving forces – push or pull. The Federation of Small Business say that 76% of export destination decisions are driven by a direct approach from a local market – this illustrates the power of Pull drivers. Brexit on the other hand, is a significant push driver, where companies will need to expand out of necessity to survive, compete and grow.
- Understand your potential
International ventures must be ambitious but achievable and done for the right reasons. Every business wants to expand and make more revenue but these aren’t always the best reasons to enter new markets.
It is important to know what your unique offering is when choosing your growth strategies. We have found information that was crucial for companies whose niche product in the UK market, they assumed, would be the same in international markets. Our network and market experts can verify this kind of information and advise you on understanding your USP from a global perspective.
- Assess your target market
Every business looking to expand internationally needs to do their homework. Assessing the market is crucial. Countless businesses we have worked with have stated they entered a market without fully understanding it. This led to money and time being spent working out how to function.
Our market research has led companies to sales. We have outreached to suppliers and distributors in international markets to see if they would be interested in certain types of products. Often the question is – Where can I buy it?
OCO Global Exporting can help a company assess a chosen market, remove barriers that could cost money and decrease the time it takes to see a return on investment.
- Use the resources available to you
We talk to many businesses who are investing internationally but have not accessed a wealth of resources available to them.
Resources can include everything from financial incentives, distribution support, partnership development or introducing your business to the right people that can help establish a sure footing in an international market.
We can help with this process. OCO Global Exporting are the exclusive partners for the Department for International Trade in North America and work with some of the most innovative Economic Development Organisations around the globe, such as Enterprise Florida, JobsOhio and JETRO. We can facilitate the best resources that companies want to utilise. It is good to know that these types of services are not just for the large corporations but can be used by the SME as well.
- Expand your horizons
Think beyond what you may consider to be the safe bet. There are new markets where your product or service may flourish that you may never have considered before.
Brexit has opened the door to new markets – be it in Australia, Asia or the Middle East.*
OCO Global Exporting have access to an incubator in the UAE. This incubator operates in a free trading zone where regulation is flexible and entry into the market is permeable; so that, if a company is not finding the sales it expected, it can leave the market with less hassle then setting up a location. It is the perfect space for resellers and sales people to set up shop.
Support is available to enter new markets. OCO Global Exporting encourages you to think beyond your traditional pool of influence.
Brexit is about grasping new opportunities outside our traditional networks as well as building upon those we already have. Even in a time of business uncertainty about the future, it is time to think outside of your traditional infrastructure and think about what opportunities there are in new markets.
Contact OCO Global Exporting for a free Priority Market Assessment to get you started. We are here to help guide you on assessing, entering and growing in new markets.
Make the most of Brexit. Contact OCO Global Exporting.
* With OCO Global Exporting, we have worked in all major economies, have offices and connections around the world and can advise your company on new markets outside of your traditional network. Consult us on where the best market may be for your product or service. You may be surprised by the outcome.