- Jim Fanshawe
The CBI plan entitled Seize the Moment aimed at rebuilding the economy makes for some interesting reading. Obviously I am all in favour of sustainable plans to encourage and assist SMEs to #export more and so it is positive to see the CBI urge the government to support more #internationaltrade.
What I am wary of though is snippets and soundbites highlighted by some newspapers. Comments such as creating "superstar” exporters that move 10-plus products to 10-plus markets is not necessarily helpful to smaller exporters looking to break into exporting for the first time, or those who are seeking to develop their export activity in a manageable proactive way. When entering new export markets I am in favour of really penetrating a few select markets very thoroughly rather than a scatter gun approach trying to just get some sales in as many markets as possible. Reducing the concept of export growth to a mindset of "so long as I can sell more than 10 products to more than 10 countries, I will be a superstar" is not helpful. Yes, we should shout about successes and the companies who are in that category in a sustainable way should be applauded as they will have had to have worked blooming hard to get there.
If, as a nation we are going to become more of an exporting success story, we need more companies to start exporting for the first time. We need a higher percentage of the UK's total companies to start exporting. That is where more help is needed, particularly at the moment, after the disruption from Brexit and the pandemic. My message to those companies looking at an export strategy for their growth, is this. Don't be put off. You can get there. Don't lose focus. Identify the most appropriate markets for you without overstretching yourself and be strategic about your approach.
Each company's export strategy needs to be bespoke to them, taking into consideration their resources in terms of time, people, budget and experience. It takes time to properly build up solid and sustainable export business. When it is done successfully it is hugely rewarding for the company and individuals involved and the wider UK #economy too. So let's focus on helping the SMEs newer to export build up their international trade in a proactive manner and then we will have more "superstars" to shout about!
It is achievable and well worth the effort.