- Link resource allocation to international success
- Consider available people resource in the business
- Consider budget
The way you use your time in the business is one of the most important factors in your success or otherwise. Taking your business forward into new markets probably offers you some great opportunities.
If you are to take advantage of these you will need to give them your time and attention. You will need to think through how the business can continue to manage its UK affairs effectively whilst engaged in new developments. And you will need to think through the financial case for your new venture.
Organising the Business
The way you use your time in the business is one of the most important factors in your success or otherwise. Taking your business forward into new markets probably offers you some great opportunities. If you are to take advantage of these you will need to give them an appropriate amount of your time and attention. This will involve you in a fairy ruthless review of what you are doing currently to identify how you can create the time you need for your export development. You will need to consider carefully how the business can continue to manage its UK business effectively whilst engaged in new developments.
Many people find delegation extremely difficult, especially those who have built up a business from scratch and who have succeeded by very carefully controlling the way business runs. However, without delegation the business will struggle to grow successfully.
For many MDs this is a powerful personal challenge which has to be faced on the road to business success. Learning to trust others to help you succeed is part of the achievement of this success. Of course, in exporting this applies not only to your in-house staff, but also to those partners who represent you in overseas markets. Building trusting relationships is a key element in export success.
Using Outside Help
Making the best possible use of outside help is an important skill for SME exporters. Using interim help from students or consultants may be part of your solution. Scottish Enterprise can offer you help in a number of key areas. Time spent with your Scottish Enterprise Advisor should help you avoid expensive mistakes and blind alleys.
It is very easy to get caught out by ‘hidden costs’ which you haven’t thought of or maybe don’t even notice. A deal which fails to deliver the profit you thought you were going to make is at least an irritation, at worst a serious problem.
Where you are launching into a market on the basis of dozens or hundreds of repeated transactions the penalty can be very high indeed, so making sure you have really understood the costs you will incur is a must.
Ruthlessly check your variable costs. Have you allowed for insurance, bank costs, exchange rate costs, are you confident of transport costs etc.? If you are a service business have you taken account of the additional time that may get taken up and additional subsistence and travel costs?
Similarly, have you been realistic in putting together your overhead budget? Double check you have allowed enough for exhibitions, sales visits, legal costs etc. Above all, include a realistic figure to cover the amount of time that you and others may need to put into this new market. A common problem for exporting businesses is to find that the UK business ends up supporting the time that the business is putting into exports, undermining profitability.
Points for consideration.
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