Top Tips for new exporters

Do your research in these five key areas before you start
A picture of Lesley Bachelor

Business Culture

Understand the new market you plan to enter. Look beyond the GDP figures and headline statistics to try and figure out who you are going to sell to. What are the rules of the local business culture – from business cards to wearing suits? How is business done – and how will you need to adapt to operate in this market?


Check on all the factors that may impact on your price. What duties does the market impose? Is there a local sales tax like VAT? How many days do they take to pay invoices? How do they pay and what are the costs? What is the local currency? How volatile is the exchange rate? Can you manage any risks involved in selling in another currency?


Do they really need your product or offering? Will you need to modify it in any way – or even change the colour to avoid offending local tastes? Will you have to operate in the local language? Does your product use electricity voltage? And will the cost of any modifications make your prices prohibitive? Remember, it is always easier to meet an existing demand than create a new one.

Names and Trademarks

Can you use your trading name in its current format? What does your name mean locally? Check its meaning in the vernacular too and see if anyone else is already using it. Check how the market deals with copyright, design rights and trademarks. Find ways to mitigate any risks you identify – or consider other markets first. 


How are you going to deliver your product? Good packaging protects your goods as well as making them distinctive. How is the infrastructure in your target country? Consider road and rail routes inside and outside major cities along with broadband penetration? Could a lack of broadband compromise your ability to sell, support or deliver your product?

There are many factors to consider in international trade – but most of them are easily manageable with the right kind of help, and appropriate training where necessary. The Institute of Export and International Trade exists to help businesses like yours develop, understand and share best practice.

Lesley Batchelor, Director General Institute of Export & International Trade. 

How to

A person using an Ipad
How to sell online worldwide

Make the internet your shop window

Experts say

Delivery Matters Research

See what shoppers in key export destinations expect when they shop online from the UK