The Leeds-based company, which supplies and distributes more than a million bearings and ancillary products from the world’s leading brands, plus its own budget brand, won the title of Export Award Micro-Business (for businesses with less than 10 staff) at the Chase Awards in London.
The Chase Awards recognise and showcase the very best stories of successful exporting and inward investment in the transatlantic corridor by micro, small or medium-to-growth sized businesses.
Established in 2012 and now employing eight people, Quality Bearings Online supplies large and small businesses in 36 different sectors across the US.
While the US is its main export market, the business trades with customers in aerospace, oil and gas, renewable energy, marine, transportation and manufacturing throughout mainland Europe, Canada, Australia, the Republic of Ireland and several countries in Africa, with exports in total now representing about 60 per cent of monthly turnover.
Simon Riley, managing director and co-founder of Quality Bearings Online, said: “The support we received from UKTI was invaluable and there’s absolutely no doubt that we wouldn’t have received this fantastic recognition without their advice and guidance.
“We started liaising with UKTI in 2014 and joined the e-exporting programme from September 2015 to March 2016, attending the programme produced outstanding results for us as an online business because we started receiving orders from overseas.
“We were encouraged to look at our website and processes from a completely different perspective.
“We worked through every aspect of it to identify potential areas of concern such as shipping fees, taxes and duties, we also amended the site to ensure the removal of any possible problems that a company could face when trading overseas.”
The e-exporting programme allowed Simon and his colleagues to spend a significant amount of time on analytics to identify drop-offs on the website and the source of traffic to the site. It also covered other key issues such as advertising with Google ad-words and the impact of social media.
Mark Robson, UKTI regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Quality Bearings Online proves my mantra that exporting is different but not difficult and something we at UKTI want to be the new normal for businesses looking to broaden their horizons.
“The world is becoming a much smaller place thanks to the internet and a strong web presence such as that offered by Quality Bearings Online makes you visible to a global audience with many firms securing their first e-export order via an unsolicited e-enquiry thanks to their website acting as a window to the world.”