5 Tips for Entering the UK Market
If you’re considering entering the UK, it is likely to be because you’ve reached a strong level of success in your market. Maybe you’ve received interest in your service from the UK. Whatever the reason may be, it is easy to assume that what proved successful in your home country will be equally as rewarding in a new foreign market. But this is not always the case and can often prove to be a costly mistake to make. Scaling a business is not a straightforward task, let alone internationally. Here, we list the top 5 things to think about before you make a move.
Know who you are and what it is you do best
Before you even think about entering the UK market, you need to make sure you have a clear understanding of your product offering. Establish what it is that makes your product or service a success and learn to communicate its message effectively. The better you know this, the easier it will be to explain it to potential buyers. Especially when you will need to consider factors such as language barriers and cultural differences. After all, you may find yourself in a situation where there are only a couple of minutes to get your message across and if you can’t do it quickly or articulately, you’ll end up losing out.
Don’t underestimate the differences
Language barriers, cultural differences, diverse organisational cultures, regulations and even mannerisms all affect how businesses operate. Not every market sector is organised and run the same way. Know your audience. Don’t underestimate the work involved in researching these differences before entering the UK market. Make sure you familiarise yourself with them and understand them, so you don’t find yourself in those tricky situations having said the wrong thing.
Even if it’s a market close to home, there will still be some differences to consider. It’s also worthwhile to take into account regional differences. For instance, businesses in London have different routines and cultures to firms up in the north.
Gather intelligence before entering the UK market
While researching and understanding the differences between markets is a valuable first step; it is crucial that you arm yourself with as much information as possible. It is not uncommon to have certain preconceptions or views based on personal experiences about a country. So it’s often best to utilise the services of a UK based market research or trade assistance firm to gather the necessary and accurate intelligence.
Specialist firms will first look to understand how your product offering and market work. They’ll then produce a market validation report analysing your key competitors, customer base and ultimately advise you on whether you have a chance of success in the UK. Use a firm that is an expert in your industry. It may not seem like a necessary cost at first, but their understanding of local and business culture will be the key to a successful market entry strategy.
Other useful sources of information are services or initiatives set up by government bodies. These regularly provide advice and support services such as market reports, networking events and even financing to make exporting easier.
Visit the UK and network
Having already carried out a vast amount of research, you should now be able to identify contacts in the UK that would be worthwhile reaching out to. The firm that assisted you with the market validation piece should be able to advise you on which events and trade shows to attend. Before entering the UK market, arrange appointments with specific British companies and relevant trade bodies in your sector and build up your network.
Also, use your visit as an opportunity to start thinking long term. If you proceed with scaling your business, consider whether it would be best for your business to set up a UK-based team or to hire a specialist firm to represent you and be your support team. Setting up a British-based team takes an enormous amount of time, money and resources. Therefore it’s worth considering whether this is the most viable option by doing some research during your visit.
Leverage all contacts
Visiting the UK and building up your list of contacts is essential for growing your network and getting your name out there. But don’t forget to utilise any old or existing connections. If they can introduce you to new people or potential clients, you’ll be in a much stronger position. It’s all about building your network and nurturing it before entering the UK market. Some contacts may not be useful to your right away, but you never know when they might be. Try to keep in touch with them every so often.
These are only a few things to consider when scaling your business. Whether you’re looking to trade in the UK or enter any other market, remember that knowledge is critical. Research your desired market, collect as much market intelligence as possible and network to ensure your success.