7 things you should consider before exporting – by Rashmi Raju, International Advisor at Medilink UK

Exporting your products and services provides a range of benefits, including increasing your sales pipeline, revenue and risk diversification. However, if you are new to exporting, it can feel intimidating and challenging. Below, I have outlined a few steps to consider when looking into new overseas opportunities.

1. Market research

Market research is a key element in the first steps of your exporting journey. It is vital to understand your potential opportunity, competitiveness and business culture in the region. You need to consider whether your products are right for the target market and whether you have the necessary resources. Make sure you understand the cultural protocols, traditions and legislations in your markets of interest.

2. Export plan

Next, you should develop an export plan which outlines the target markets, export goals, marketing budget, resources, and expected outcomes. This process enables you to engage with different teams within your organisation and to focus on various activities outlined in the export plan. Your plan should link directly to the specific opportunity or justify why you identified a particular territory during your market research.

3. Routes to market

Organising your sales presence in export markets is key in selling successfully overseas. Depending on your product, you may want to sell directly to the consumer, through a distributor or an agent. Many organisations look for a partner who understands the region well and can assist with regional legislation in the early stages. 

4. Trade shows and market visits 

Exhibiting or attending trade shows can help raise your profile and generate brand awareness. It provides a great platform to meet potential buyers, customers and partners and learn about your competitors. Market visits help in strengthening global relationships by developing intercultural understanding and establishing or renewing commercial relationships.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic response around the world, exhibitions, congresses and large-scale meetings were cancelled. As we look forward to the re-opening of these events in the Autumn of 2021 and beyond, they have become even more critical to companies’ export strategies and processes.

5. Promotion and regional differences

You should customise your product marketing to suit the target market. For example, you may consider using a translation service which can help you in creating website content in local language to attract the potential customers. You will also need to consider any local requirements such as the instructions for use, product labelling and banned or culturally sensitive products in your manufacturing process (for example, animal products, etc.).

6. Financial consideration

Make sure you understand the financial implications of exporting, including foreign financial transactions, payment methods, procedures and risk associated in the process. You can access support from UK Export Finance (UKEF) who work with UK banks to provide exporters with trade finance solutions and insurance to help them win and perform on specific export contracts. There are a number of financial services and specialist foreign exchange companies that can offer support. Medilink have a relationship with tried and trusted partners to whom we can make an introduction.

Exporting is often a vital consideration and progressive step for most businesses in the associated healthcare sectors. However, there is a cost generated from the requirement of internal resourcing, regulation, travel, logistics and marketing. An organisation should ensure that they have the resources to pursue an export or market entry strategy before starting any activity.

7. Documentations and logistics

It is crucial to have the right documentation for international trade to avoid delays and associated costs at customs. Key paperwork includes Export Declaration, Commercial Invoice, Certificate of Origin, Packaging List, Bill of Lading, Export License and any other special certificates, depending on the product. Choosing the effective transport method for the goods and making sure the shipment is insured is the final step after sale terms have been agreed. Evaluate the options for global transport and look for a freight forwarder who has been exporting regularly to the region of your interest. Your responsibility for transport depends on your agreement with your customer or supplier and your obligations should be clearly set out in a written contract using Incoterms®.

Medilink’s International team have decades of experience working with international markets and our team works with extensive overseas networks from both Medilink UK and The Department for International Trade (DIT) to help companies within the healthcare, medical technology and life sciences sector achieve their international trade goals.

We are in a position to assist both our members and non-members with international strategy, interim resource support (where we can work within your business de-risking a new international venture before you choose to recruit your own staff) and bespoke market and sector specific consultancy projects. Medilink, our colleagues at the DIT and connections around the world can all assist you with regional legislation, at every stage.

You can find details on exhibitions and events that we’re delivering via the following link: https://www.medilink.co.uk/exhibitionsandevents/.

If you are thinking about internationalising and would like to discuss your exporting journey, please contact us at: [email protected] / 0114 232 9272.

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