The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Friday Guest Blog

Clive Drinkwater, Regional Director of UKTI North West

It’s that time of year again when we consider what we have been doing and plan how we can do things differently in the coming year. As we look ahead to 2011, we have some uncertain economic times ahead but we are constantly being told that we should export our way out of the difficulties. It is something that I would of course advocate myself, but is it a realistic aim?

Well, as ever, I have a five point plan that businesses should follow to get on the road to international success:

1. Take advantage of the competitive pound. We have benefited from this for a couple of years now. There is evidence that it is beginning to work its way through into increased exports and you should look to take advantage of it yourself. Not that long ago the Dollar was at nearly 2 to the pound, now it’s at 1.55. The Euro was around 1.40, now it’s 1.18. This puts you in a much better competitive position against your European and American counterparts.

2. Seek out the sectors of growth. There are some industries which have hardly noticed a downturn and the year ahead promises real growth in:
• Medical/Bio/Pharma
• Energy
• Environmental technologies
• Digital/Creative

3. Think about the European market on your doorstep. The last year has seen good growth in Germany, Sweden and Poland as well as some others. You will get the benefit of strengthening economies as well as the competitive pound.

4. You must look at the emerging markets of the world. Of course, you should look at Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC markets) but consider others such as Mexico, South Africa, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia. Did you know that Qatar, Turkmenistan, Ethiopia and Mozambique featured in the top ten fastest growing economies of 2010? There is real growth in these economies and you need to have a strategy to capitalise upon the many opportunities there.
5. Use the New Year to sharpen your focus. Go back and revisit your strategy and value propositions. Identify opportunities for your business and hunt them down ruthlessly. If you don’t your competitors will

We are in a great position to achieve an export led recovery but it will not happen just by chance. Planning your business around emerging international opportunities is becoming ever more important. Consider my five point plan and see if you too can emerge at the end of 2011 as a growing successful international business.

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