The five steps to maximising your entry into the UK market as an overseas company.

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Having assisted individual companies and trade delegations investigating the UK market, we have identified the five steps that we feel dramatically inprove the chances of a company's success.

1. Know who you are and what you do best.

There appear to be two main reasons for an overseas small or medium sized company like yours considering the UK market ;

  • a. you have become a profitable company in your own market (which may already include other countries) or
  • b) you are starting to see occasional UK interest in your product.

Either way, you need to avoid the obvious trap of assuming that what is successful in your existing market will be successful in the UK.

Therefore, take a good look at the product or service that you want to transfer to the UK market and establish what makes your product a success. Armed with that knowledge try to capture the essence of your offer. If you truly understand your product and what you are offering, it becomes easier to tell others about it across cultural and language barriers.

2. Use local sources of information and assistance

You actively contribute to the benefit of your country or region by exporting your products. Most nations and regions therefore provide services to make exporting easier. These can range from market reports or experts with specific information on the UK, meetings and seminars to providing assistance with taking part in trade delegations to the UK. Your local Chambers of Commerce or trade association my also have useful information and contacts. Because the UK is also business friendly, many UK embassies have business departments that can also provide information.

3. Use a UK based company to do some initial market research for you

Despite the talk of globalisation, countries differ considerably in how individual market sectors run and are organised. A UK market research or inward trade assistance company can use your brief and understanding of how your product and market works to find out how the UK competition is organised and whether your product has a chance of success in the UK. They will do this in the local language and with an understanding of the UK business culture.

4. Visit the UK in person

With a positive outlook from the previous steps, your UK research contacts should be able to identify UK contacts for you to meet up with and trade shows that are relevant to your business. Arrange appointments to talk to specific UK companies and relevant organisations and trade bodies in your sector. At this stage, you not only need to talk to potential partners or clients but also to others who can give you a personal insight into the market overall. Information is still the most important factor.

5. Maintain contacts and enquiries after your visit.

This step is where most companies fall down. They go to all the trouble of steps 1 to 4 but after having visited the UK, do not pursue and maintain or expand the contacts made. That's fine if you establish that there is no market here for you, but it is fatal if you do have a market and do not put the effort in to pursue it. Entering any new market is a long term project.

Summary

The five steps to maximising your entry into the UK market are described;

  1. Know who you are and what you do best.

  2. Use local sources of information and assistance

  3. Use a UK based company to do some initial market research for you

  4. Visit the UK in person

  5. Maintain contacts and enquiries after your visit.

Entering a new market is like starting business all over again. By gathering as much information as you can and visiting in person, you can adjust your plans and maximise your success.

Call to Action

Follow the five steps to maximise your chances of entering the UK market.

Look out for further articles on this website or contact Dr Chris Thomas of Milton Contact Ltd on +44 (0)1223 440024, e-mail chris@miltoncontact.com or by using the contact page on this site.

Author:
Chris Thomas