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.
Leaders from Pyronix, Gala Tents and Newburgh Precision explained how international trade was key to driving growth at the event organised by UKTI, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and Rotherham Investment & Development Office (RIDO).
Jason Mace founded Gala Tents after being unable to hire a marquee for a millennium party in 1999.
He now buys and sells 15,000 marquees and gazebos a year, turning over more than £10million.
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 annual growth of up to 15 per cent, partly due to exports.
Commercial director Colin Beresford said: “You have to do your homework.
“Make sure you understand 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.
“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.”
David Greenan, managing director of Newburgh Precision, added: “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.”
The breakfast event, held at Fusion@Magna in Rotherham, included the launch of Five Steps To Export – Not Difficult, Just Different, a new guide by UKTI for businesses in Yorkshire looking to export.