2-3 October 2024

ExCel London

Ask the expert: Seven steps to get you selling overseas

Ask the expert: Seven steps to get you selling overseas

23rd May 2024



Irina Shmakova, UK Export Academy Adviser from the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) shares her essential tips to kick-start start your exporting journey.

Since 2020, the UK Export Academy (UKEA) has supported thousands of UK businesses looking to grow and diversify their customer base. The UKEA is a free training programme suitable for goods and service businesses of all sizes. The programme brings together export experts and industry specialists to explore the challenges and benefits of selling overseas.

As part of the UK Export Academy team, Irina is one of many advisers here to help you get started, and here she takes a look at some of the key topics businesses should consider when exporting for the first time.

Weigh up the benefits and barriers of exporting

Selling overseas can yield huge benefits to your business, including extra sales, competitor advantages, and spreading your market risk. Create an export action plan that identifies your business strengths as well as any areas of weakness that need improvement. Determining whether your business is export-ready or not can have a marked difference in your future global success.

Research your international markets

With so many potential customers across the globe, it can be tempting to target them all at once. However, by undertaking research and choosing key markets for your product or service, you could save your business valuable time and money. Use your international research as a guide for future marketing decisions and be prepared to adapt your approach when expanding to a different customer demographic or country.

Be aware of customs procedures

All exporters have a legal responsibility for the products and services they sell. HMRC require key information before goods can leave the UK, along with requiring you to submit an export customs declaration. Check the requirements in advance, make sure you know what documentation you must produce, and keep up to date on UK customs procedures.

Consider your pricing and route to market

British companies often under-price their goods and services, without considering local market conditions. The market research you conducted at the start of your strategy will help determine your export price. Also consider the length of your supply chain and the best route to market and gain as much information as possible before negotiating with a possible representative i.e., in-market agent.



Decide how to get paid

Different methods of payment comes with different levels of risk depending on whether you’re the exporter or importer. With international payments, there are also different exchange rates and currencies to consider. Explore options such as advance payment, letters of credit, documentary collections, or an open account.

Brush up on Incoterms®

Incoterms® (International Commercial Terms) clarify functions and cost and risk between the buyer and the seller, as required by the sales contract. By having a clear understanding of responsibility prior to purchase, they can help form a contract that benefits both parties. Take time to review the different terms and fully explore the benefits and risks of each one. It’s worth noting that Incoterms® do not replace insurance policies but do indicate where the responsibility lies.

Check for export controls

Some goods, software, and technologies are restricted or prohibited by international export controls, to align with security, policy and other obligations. You may require an export license or permit to approve the sale of your product or service. This includes ‘dual-use goods’, which may not be designed for military use, but is capable of doing so, including electronics, chemicals, and marine equipment.

Want to learn more? Sign up for your FREE UK Export Academy account and join our Essentials events, each designed to cover the topics mentioned above, giving you the confidence and know-how to begin exporting.

Visit great.gov.uk/export-academy.

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4-5 June 2024

Manchester Central


2-3 October 2024

ExCel London