Exporting is great!

The UK witnessed a sharp fall in the value of the pound following the Brexit announcement, making goods and services priced in sterling more competitive in the global market.

That makes it a great time for businesses to consider exporting. However, 29% of those SMEs who would like to trade internationally say they lack the knowledge or expertise to do so.  To tackle this issue, Pierce invited industry professionals to our head office to share their knowledge with businesses wanting to export for the first time, or increase their exporting activities.

Statistics show that firms who export are 34%* more productive in the first year and exporters achieve 59%* faster productivity growth. Our event proved that exporting is great and here are some reasons why.

*Statistic taken from PIMS Annual Report, DIT (2013); Harris and Li (2007)

Top tips

Delegates heard that there is essential work that needs to be done before companies begin exporting.

Mandy Lockett, International Business Director at East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce provided us with tips and advice about exporting basics.

  • Conduct market research: the economy and markets are constantly changing – getting the right intelligence and understanding demand is crucial for success.
  • Negotiation: British people are typically shy at negotiating, but every country does it so you need to sharpen your negotiating techniques.
  • Payment methods:  payments for domestic deals are usually 30, 60 or 90 days net (open account), but when exporting, other options are available and need to be understood.
  • Quotation and terms and conditions: exporting can bring risk, so build safety nets within your terms and conditions.
  • Branding and packaging: consider whether your goods/services are suitable for overseas customers and whether they comply with the overseas markets.
  • Commodity code: carefully choose the correct code to be compliant with HMRC regulations.
  • Pricing: quotations need to build on UK selling price and take into consideration any modifications, extra packaging, bank finance charges, pre-shipment inspection, special certificates, offering extra warranty, insurance, freight charges, agent commission and potential negotiation.  

Support available

Whether you’re new to exporting or want to develop your exporting opportunities, there is a wealth of help available. East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce is in the top three chambers in the UK for international support.

Stef Heywood, International Trade Advisor at the chamber, shared details of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), an £8.2 million fund to help job creation by supporting 750 enterprises in becoming exporters.

Divia Patel-Smith, International Trade Advisor at the Department for International Trade (DIT) explained how they can provide strategic advice to businesses in the region from their global network. The DIT has a high success rate: for every £1 it spends, £22 is generated for the UK economy. On a daily basis, the DIT website has new exporting opportunities uploaded from businesses looking for specific services and products from the UK.

With 36%* of UK SMEs believing that trading internationally is inherently risky, Simon Watson, Director of International Trade at NatWest, explained how banks can provide support. Banks can help businesses understand and manage risks and provide assistance with foreign exchange, duties, taxes, supplier debt and due diligence.

*Statistic taken from a Natwest and RBS survey of 200 UK SMEs called ‘World Economy Barometer: Into the Groove’.


Concluding the presentations was Michael Hill, Director of Optima Control Solutions, who shared his experience of exporting. Using the help of NatWest Bank and DIT, Michael successfully delivered his first exporting project by supplying a lithographic coating line for a company in Korea and described it as a “game changer for his business”.

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