This blog has been inspired by an increasing frustration here at Bolst Global of hearing others profess that in order to succeed overseas you must have first have a plethora of home market customers that you can ‘impressively’ name drop into your export pitching presentations to win new business (which many international companies have never heard of in any case!)
‘Hindsight is a great thing…’
Even this very morning, without mentioning this article, I was talking to a new company who told me they wish they had NOT listened to this notion of achieving home market entrenchment before considering export three years ago as by not doing so they could be in a very different and much more advantageous position with their product than they currently are…(grrr!)
Move over old school thinking
It’s like when old school company presentations start with the date the company began and an often yawn inspiring potted history…of course it does mean something to that business and surviving in today’s ever-changing environment is commendable but is it really that relevant anymore given the world of new business that we are finding ourselves in? It is your value proposition, your differentiated strategy and what you can bring to the table for your customers that is truly important and not necessarily just the ‘assurance’ that you have existed for so many years.
Same goes for the selling internationally piece: why do we keep hearing that you must have a stronghold in your domestic market before you can even start looking elsewhere?
It’s simply not true!
Instead here is what we say you should have ‘well established’ in order to export
(what we call the ‘three S formula for export success’)
1. Servicing customer needs
It’s about knowing and understanding your customers’ needs that counts and being able to effectively communicate how you can service and support them through your offering – regardless of where in the world that are located and how well known they may (or may not be) to others (of course a well known brand on your books will add kudos for you but revenue is revenue regardless of who provides it for you)
Remember also: Will a far flung distributor have even heard of some of your UK business references? Not necessarily as this is where culture comes into play! Don’t take for granted that others will automatically know of them, just because they are well known players in the UK.
It’s about having enough stability in your business – that goes for cash flow, having enough regular revenue from various sources (however well known or not they may be!) and the ability then to invest in exporting as a growth strategy which is essentially of prime importance.
And finally it’s about having scalability in your business. In other words being able to service demands of potentially much larger volumes of orders and quite quickly too, both from a production and internal resource perspective. In many cases like you may have to do already with a UK customer. However you don’t necessarily have to have that traction at home already. Provided you can ‘turn it on’ when you need to then that is what is most important.
Proving the point
One client we are working with has only just secured their first large retailer listing in the UK, but it hasn’t stopped them from signing up a Dutch distributor prior to that and also gaining significant interest and orders from the Middle East which Bolst Global is driving forward on their behalf.
Another start up client of ours is also about to launch into a UK grocer but their ability to scale already and vision for global expansion means Bolst Global has been brought in to advise, support and lead on increasing business for the brand beyond UK shores too.
So think about it…
Does your business, regardless of its age and credentials in the UK (or lack thereof!), have the above characteristics?
If so then maybe you should be starting that international outreach NOW!
For any advice or support on how to take those first steps or how Bolst Global could help your brand with this then please fill out the contact form below and we will gladly get in touch to see how this could be possible.