export-weekWhen you first start out in business it is usually a relatively simple affair, but it doesn’t take long for things to become complex.  As small businesses grow, a range of technologies are bolted on and business processes implemented.  Unless each new system is integrated well it can rapidly become unwieldy.

Nowhere is this complexity more evident than when we expand overseas, where it’s seldom the case that any two territories have the same regulations, customers or cultures.  Growing is essential to survival, but doing so successfully is incredibly hard.

A report, published earlier this year by Wharton suggested that simplifying work is crucial to successful growth.  Some 72% of respondents reported that complexity was holding back their attempts to grow.

Making exporting easier

With Export Week in full swing, there are clear attempts to simplify things for small businesses looking to expand overseas. InnovateUK is supporting up to 20 high potential startups and helping them to expand overseas via its Entrepreneur Missions.  They’re providing a range of support, including:

  • network building
  • PR
  • knowledge and insights into trading overseas
  • support with pitching to investors

The theory is that this kind of expertise is often lacking in a startup, so the InnovateUK team can provide an invaluable service.  The venture is backed and funded by the UK Trade and Investment and has already seen a number of trips overseas, including cleantech missions to Brazil and digital missions to Bangalore.

The importance of scaling up

The tremendous value of supporting the growth of small businesses was emphasised by a report published late last year by Sherry Coutu.  It revealed that approximately £38 billion in additional economic value, and 238,000 new jobs could be created if we got better at supporting high growth companies.

Export Week aims to support that by making it easier to locate opportunities to expand overseas.  They have a directory of opportunities that are crying out for the wealth of expertise currently residing in the UK, whether in companies or in our universities.

They also provide a guide to help businesses that wish to expand overseas.  It looks at some of the key success factors, including researching the culture, checking that you’re ready, making your plans and then closing the deal/s.

The value of exporting is highlighted by the tremendous success achieved by the UK’s education sector.  Data suggests that education exports are worth over £17 billion to the UK economy, with plans to grow this by a further £3 billion by 2018.

The report produced for Export Week is certainly a good start to get you on the road to exporting success, and is well worth considering if you want to scale up your business.  Find out more about Export Week via the video below.