Is exporting and international trade a real option for growing your business?
It is almost 10 years since I started my business and I decided it was time to pursue my long held ambition to also operate in the Caribbean and USA.
Easier said than done and where do I start?
My first action was to contact UKTI to find out how they could help and I have to admit that my initial thoughts were that they wouldn’t be interested in a small business that wasn’t all about loading up big container ships with goods.
I was very happy to be proved wrong. The reality is that there is just as much support for service businesses too.
In August 2013 I had my first meeting with Lissa Balmer, who was a highly recommended International Trade Adviser (ITA), and straight away she began to work with me to develop an Export Strategy.
Wow, I wasn’t expecting that.
Nonetheless I still believed that it would take an age before any of these plans began to come to fruition.
By October Lissa had put me in touch with the UKTI office in Barbados and the ever helpful Hadford Howell, Head of Trade & Investment, UKTI Barbados & the Eastern Caribbean. Hadford helped me to begin developing contacts and exploring opportunities.
By the end of October I had signed up for the “Passport to Export” Service, an Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) and was making my travel plans to participate in an Aid Funded Business Trade Mission.
Passport to Export includes a compulsory export workshop which I attended on 15th January, just two weeks before the Trade Mission to Barbados. This was also very helpful indeed.
What a Difference 5 months makes
In January it was exactly five months since my initial meeting with Lissa and I am now back from the Trade Mission to Barbados having learnt so much that my head is swimming with all of the fantastic information and opportunities.
I will be sharing my experience of the Trade Mission and of working with UKTI in a series of blogs which I hope you will find informative, useful and interesting.
I also hope that my experiences will give you the confidence, whether your are a manufacturer or service business, to begin your journey to exporting and international trading to grow your business.
If you would also like to share you experience of international trade, I would love to hear from you.