Import and Export Finance

Once you’ve cracked the UK market, there’s huge potential for growth overseas

Businesses have increased their sales, growth and stability by selling overseas, but there are associated risks. Arm yourself with research, planning and financial advice to keep these to a minimum.

When to export?

Although there are no hard and fast rules about when a business should start trading overseas, the FSB has identified three main types of exporting firms:

  • Strategic – exporting has always been a strategic goal with the plan, including identified destinations and target markets
  • Opportunistic – don’t have the foresight to export but successfully respond to opportunities that are presented, leading to a presence abroad
  • Reactive – approached by foreign customers and generally open to doing business with anyone that asks, no specific target market
Import and export finance
Import and export finance

Key considerations:

Researching overseas markets is essential before you enter them to maximise your chance of success in each one. You should look into practical issues such as logistics, regulation and local suppliers and more specifically, make sure that you:

  • Research your market
  • Know your customers
  • Make an export plan
  • Find a route to market
  • Obtain relevant export or import licences
  • Secure trade finance, if necessary

What are the benefits of importing and exporting

Whatever your motivation for taking your business to new countries, there are benefits to expanding beyond a single market.  Not only can you achieve increased sales (and profits) from a wider customer base, you can also spread your risk across a range of markets. Market issues are less significant when all of your business isn’t done in that one place.

And there is more opportunity to develop new products and services when you’re meeting the needs of different overseas customers. An increase in production will inevitably lead to improved efficiencies by making full use of your capacity.

Research shows that companies which export perform better financially, leading to a higher turnover and improved stability.

Financing your business overseas

Finance to trade outside of the UK market gives small businesses an enormous opportunity to grow by funding their trade cycle and facilitating overseas transactions.

The benefits can be huge, including to:

  • Support growth plans
  • Improve profit margins
  • Increase efficiency and productivity
  • Mitigate financial risks including bankruptcy
Import and export finance

Securing the finance to grow can be one of the main obstacles, in addition to finding new customers and identifying marketing strategies, working with fluctuating exchange rates, and a fear of local competition.