With some form of Brexit just around the corner (probably/possibly) Brendan Murphy, CEO of UK based bin manufacturer, Egbert Taylor, explains a seven point plan to develop a successful export strategy…
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that 90% of global growth in future years will originate from outside the EU. This is not only a significant figure, but also one that should encourage UK waste organisations to explore wider international opportunities that have the potential to transform their business sooner rather than later.
Since launching its export programme in 2012, Egbert Taylor has entered many new markets that were mere possibilities only a decade ago. Ironically, the vast majority of our export markets are in regions that align with the IMF’s predictions; a move that began with our first international order into Bahrain.
However, whilst the potential for UK waste businesses to grow their presence outside of the UK (and even the EU) through a targeted export campaign is extensive, there are also pitfalls and areas to be aware of. Whilst we are still finding our feet and have much to learn, the last eight years have taught us many lessons.
Here is a selection of what we have learnt so far.
1. Go the distance
It may be tempting to stay close to home when embarking on an export programme for the first time – but don’t be put off by countries located at the far reaches of the globe based on distance alone. Some of our biggest successes have been in countries such as Malaysia, Brazil and even Australia.
2. Patience really is a virtue
In some regions, particularly the Middle East, we worked long and hard to establish the relationships, infrastructure and awareness of the brand that was required to succeed - six years to be precise.
However, our dedication to the market and a commitment to setting up a regional presence (we now have a 6,000 sq ft warehouse in Dubai) highlighted our dedication to the region and resulted in regular repeat orders from our growing customer base.
‘Made in Britain’ goes a long way
The UK is associated with quality, so make sure that you communicate the ‘Made in Britain’ message wherever possible. As Egbert Taylor sources its parts from within the UK and manufactures its containers on UK soil, we are able to leverage our British heritage in multiple ways.
There are many UK-based waste-led businesses with a strong ‘British built’ message, so communicate it far and wide and promote your brand.
4. Partner up
Egbert Taylor has become synonymous with partnering with international market leading waste solution companies that are looking to develop – if not establish – a UK distribution network.
The same applies the other way, too. We greatly value our partnerships with prominent UK brands, which have enabled us to increase our overseas presence and relevance in the waste sector.
If you are looking to develop your overseas markets, look to find non-competing companies that have the same ambition and leverage the synergies that you can both achieve by working together. Reach out to them to discuss how you could add value to each other.
5. Do your homework
Egbert Taylor’s products are universal. They are, after all, bins. However, differing legislative pressures and political landscapes have created demand for our products in ways that we never could have imagined before dealing with the country.
Having a thorough knowledge of these pressures and where countries are investing in their waste management strategies will not only help you fully understand how best to target different international territories, but it may also help you refine your USPs. It may even help you view your products with a fresh perspective, too.
6. Do sweat the small stuff
Export articles and advice are usually framed around the bigger picture. However, in looking at the bigger picture it can be easy to overlook the small details.
The top three technical aspects to be aware of are:
- Watch out for import tariffs as these can effectively lockout your products
- Try to ensure contracts fall under the jurisdiction of UK courts, as this is advantageous to UK companies in the event of litigation
- Use confirmed letters of credit to ensure guaranteed payment and don’t be afraid to request cleared funds by way of deposits before manufacture and shipment, particularly with new customers tendering for projects in developing economies.
7. Use all the support you can
From seminars and workshops led by the UK government’s Department for International Trade to specific development funds and grants, there is a swathe of resources open to all businesses that are looking to succeed on an international stage.
Don’t be afraid to ask to access it, take all the support and advice you can and build as many relationships as possible along the way.
I credit these points as being some of the most important aspects of developing an international presence and their value can’t be underestimated - and in the majority of cases this advice is free!