Posted by

Mike Spicer, Senior Policy Adviser

14 Jun 2012

To ensure a sustainable recovery for the UK economy will require more companies to get involved in exporting, and for those that do to break into new markets and grow volumes.  But to what extent are businesses pro-actively seeking out new opportunities? What support do they need to do this? We explore these issues in our publication released last Monday - Exporting is Good for Britain But Breaking Into New Markets Requires Planning (available for download below).

The results of our survey reveal that exporters and potential exporters show a willingness to adapt their business offering to overseas markets:  encouragingly, nearly half of responding businesses actively considering exporting were in the process of adapting their goods or services specifically to target markets abroad. But the majority of exporters (nearly three quarters) have no formal export strategy and usually capture overseas opportunities reactively after receiving sales enquiries and orders.  While even the majority of large exporting companies that responded claimed not to be working to a formal strategy, there is still a clear size divide:  SMEs are less likely to possess one. BCC research identifies a strategic approach to exporting as selecting overseas markets as part of a business strategy for new growth; taking one market at a time based on market research.

Given the size and persistence of the UK’s trade deficit, there is a real need for more companies to adopt a proactive and strategic approach to exporting. To achieve this there must be improved access to quality export training  (including in market research), and better-targeted publicly-funded support for promotional activity. In the private sector, all business support and networking groups must do more to help potential exporters constructively across the country.