Parveen Thornhill, regional director for London, Department for International Trade (DIT), explains how London-based businesses can overcome initial barriers to benefit from doing business internationally.
There is a growing demand for British products across the globe, presenting a great opportunity for ambitious London-based firms who are looking to scale their business.
Not only is exporting a good way to grow a business, it can make it more productive, innovative and resilient to economic downturns by boosting profitability, increasing margins and supporting local employment.
London’s dynamic economy has been shaped by globalisation, which has cemented connections with some of the world’s biggest economies.
Access to international markets has buoyed London firms; figures show that in 2017, businesses in the capital exported over £36bn worth of goods and in 2015, businesses in the capital exported over £100bn of services.
There are plenty of opportunities for London businesses to grow, and exporting products and services to overseas clients can provide new avenues for generating revenue.
Finding the right export markets is key to success. DIT can help local businesses understand this on an international scale through our network of International Trade Advisers (ITAs), who are familiar with the challenges firms may face and have contacts in different countries, through our overseas network, that may lead to new export contracts.
Travelling to a country is the best way to get to know it, and potential opportunities, and DIT organises trade missions and supports companies wanting to exhibit at trade shows overseas.
Another way of accelerating international growth is through e-commerce, and DIT offers an E-Exporting Programme that helps firms to become part of a global marketplace and gain increased exposure to new and existing overseas customers.
It’s natural for business owners to feel they are in unfamiliar territory, particularly when it comes to knowing different legal requirements in new markets, but with the right support, businesses can learn the processes and become more confident in their dealings abroad.
DIT has helped thousands of UK companies to start or grow their exports, and the message is simple: if they can do it, so can you.
DIT has a network of ITAs on hand in London to provide support through workshops and sessions for business owners new to exporting.
The campaign is currently showcasing more than 30 UK businesses – from a range of sectors and regions – to inspire and support firms up and down the country to export.
Companies that are interested in exporting prospects and in getting their goods abroad are encouraged to get in touch with DIT or visit the Exporting is GREAT website, which currently lists more than 1,400 live export opportunities worldwide.
The demand is out there, and the support is on hand to help British companies make the most of it.
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