The future of UK exporting and how translation can help

September 10, 2018 | Sarah Crame

Tuesday 21st August saw the launch of the Government’s Export Strategy and there has been a lot of focus on what support will be provided to businesses in the UK who are considering exporting.

There are some positive figures out there; last year UK exports rose by 11%, 39% of exporting manufacturers saw an increase in export orders over the last 3 months and 70% of SMEs who are already exporting expect to increase exports.

Some businesses have managed to obtain organic growth overseas as a direct result of UK success, this may be in one foreign market or across several countries. For businesses who are considering exporting but who are yet to take the leap, it can seem like a daunting prospect and appear to be a mammoth task. According to the CIM report produced in May, three-quarters of marketers believe their business has the skills to sell its goods in new markets, but only one-third have an export strategy. Of those that don’t export, just 1 in 7 will consider doing so. So what support is out there for those businesses who haven’t committed to exporting yet? The Government’s Department for International Trade has launched the ‘Exporting is Great’ website to provide businesses with support and advice.

Any business considering exporting needs to research the market, find out which markets to enter, how their customers may differ, who their competition is and how to position their product in that market. Then there is the matter of legislation, ensuring there are no restrictions on exporting in that market. Businesses need to make sure they know their customers and partners, and need to acknowledge that they will differ between countries; market research, and selling small quantities to test the water, can be a good start. Finally, the key step is putting together an exporting plan which pulls together all the information the business will have and allows them to apply it practically.

Moving our attention to the Government Export Strategy itself, businesses are encouraged to export, through a network of businesses sharing their expertise and peer-to-peer learning being encouraged. A wealth of advice and practical assistance is already being seen with the great.gov.uk website, as mentioned above. The strategy should see UK businesses being connected to overseas markets, and £50 billion worth of export finance and insurance support via UKEF.

For businesses considering exporting, there is still a long way to go from creating an exporting plan, to actually having a successful export business. The logistics may be in-hand, but what about maximising their customer base? As mentioned at the beginning of this article, some businesses may have already connected with their new market through their UK website. However, are they maximising opportunities? A lot of countries will reap greater rewards if they are approaching their customers in their native language and the company appears ‘local’.

The Federation of Small Businesses’ national chairman, Mike Cherry also hopes to see incentives to help smaller businesses with upfront investment costs for things such as market research and translation services. Businesses need to consider website translation, search engine optimisation for this website, social media marketing and relevant platforms within their target countries. In addition to this there is the translation of strap lines and packaging, or maybe these need changing altogether to suit individual markets and stand out. In some instances, even ingredients have needed to be changed for different countries within the food industry.

It is reassuring to know that you are not alone through this journey. Language Insight is currently working with many UK businesses who are going through this process at the moment. We don’t just provide a language service, we have people in the countries you are wanting to market to, we have marketing specialist all able to provide insight to maximise your opportunities in your target markets and we are with you every step of the way.

So if you’re considering taking your business overseas then contact us to see what advice and support we can provide to make the journey a smooth one. Language Insight work in partnership with our clients as an integral part of any export strategy.