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Research and a Focused Strategy are Key to Export Success, Business Leaders Say

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Three of Rotherham’s leading exporters told businesses to do their research, focus on a key market and seek expert advice as they shared the secrets of their international success at an event aimed at encouraging more companies to trade overseas.

At the free breakfast event today, organised by UKTI, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and Rotherham Investment & Development Office (RIDO), business leaders from Pyronix, Gala Tents and Newburgh Precision encouraged other companies to get involved in exports and explained how international trade was key to driving growth.

The event also saw the launch of Five Steps To Export – Not Difficult, Just Different, a new simple, step-by-step guide by UKTI for businesses in Yorkshire looking to export their goods or services.

Founder of Gala Tents, Jason Mace, told guests how his business was created in 1999 when he searched for a marquee for a Millennium party. Unable to rent one, he bought his own from China. Since then he’s never looked back and now buys and sells 15,000 marquees and gazebos a year, turning over more than £10m.

He said: “Start simple. We began in Ireland and developed a model for exporting. Do the research and check if the country wants your product. Once you’ve decided on a target, stick with it and don’t be tempted to try multiple destinations at once.
“Once you’ve established a successful system for international trade – expand! I’d say to every business that they should try exporting, it is worth it. Without exports, your business won’t expand.”

Security systems manufacturer Pyronix has enjoyed average annual growth of between 10 to 15 per cent thanks to international trade and commercial director Colin Beresford said research, a focused strategy and a local feel was critical to that success.

He explained: “You have to do your homework. Make sure you understand both the rules and regulations for the country and specifically those for your product or service. There are always many layers to the onion in each country that go beyond international standards.

“While we could operate in many markets, we don’t. It’s far better to invest and commit resources to one strategic market. You will get much more out of that market and will get a firm foothold for further development.

“It’s true that many markets will be happy to buy UK products in a UK language. With others you have to talk specifically to them. Making products feel local can be costly and time-consuming but it could be worth it. Commit the time and resources you need to succeed.”

Advanced manufacturer Newburgh Precision saw great success overseas by following existing customers but is now working to target new markets and sectors abroad.

Managing director David Greenan said: “We’ve got some great skills in the business but the challenge we face is knowing which countries to target, what markets to go for and who the customers are. You need local knowledge for that and that’s where the UKTI and expert advisors come in.”

Held at Fusion@Magna, the breakfast event was aimed at growing international trade and the Rotherham economy by sharing insights from some of the borough’s most successful exporters.

Regional director of UKTI Yorkshire and Humber, Mark Robson, says: “Exports are crucial to the future prosperity of this region and our country. Without exports your business isn’t fulfilling its growth potential. International trade isn’t difficult, it’s just different and we hope this event, and the others that will follow, will help inspire more to take their first steps into a new market.”

William Beckett, who won two Queen’s Awards for International Trade with William Beckett Plastics and is Chair of the Sheffield City Region Export Partnership, adds: “We are world leaders in everything from the products we produce to the services we provide in this region and we should be doing everything we can to ensure every business fulfils its export potential. By sharing some of the incredible success stories in Rotherham, we are confident we can encourage others to follow their examples.”

Tim O’Connell, business development manager at RIDO, said: “This event was a great opportunity to showcase some of the world-class businesses here and to understand how they are finding success around the world. By working together and sharing our experiences and contacts we can really show what we have to offer the world.”

Event partner Giles Searby, partner and specialist in commercial litigation and international trade at law firm hlw Keeble Hawson, added: “This was an invaluable opportunity for the area as so many companies here could achieve huge growth by boosting their export operations. We are always keen to add value to any drive that supports and enables businesses to harness the wealth of opportunities in international trade.”

To get a copy of the exporting guide Five Steps To Export – Not Difficult, Just Different, please contact Sue Roberts at UKTI via info@uktiyorkshire.co.uk

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