Exploiting brand Britain

John Jones, partner and head of corporate finance at accountants and business advisors Beever and Struthers, says the stagnating eurozone means businesses should exploit brand “United Kingdom” and look for export deals elsewhere

John Jones Beever StruthersThe moribund performance of the eurozone – Britain’s largest trading partner beset by grim economic news and doom-laden fears of a return to recession – ups the ante for British exporters.

UK plc can only hope to get anywhere near hitting Chancellor George Osborne’s ambitious target of doubling the value of exports to £1trillion by 2020 if it broadens its trading horizons beyond the 18 member states of the eurozone.

But don’t underestimate the pulling power of brand “United Kingdom” – UK manufacturing still carries a reputation for high quality and reliability overseas.

Before 2007 and the onset of the financial crisis, the UK experienced sustained economic growth via cheap imports, easy access to finance and strong confidence in economic prospects.

Things have changed dramatically since then but it’s not all doom and gloom and business success in current economic conditions is underpinned by:
  • innovation and exploitation of new technologies#
  • providing a strong value proposition to customers
  • a flexible and adaptable business model
  • understanding the market
Understanding the market is probably the key driver for businesses to refocus on Asia and other emerging markets.

The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and the MIST countries (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey) account for 35 per cent of global GDP and half of the world population but less than 20 per cent of UK exports, so with traditional markets stagnant businesses should take a look in their direction.

It’s not easy to enter new markets, but there’s plenty of professional advice available via bodies including UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) – which assisted more than 40,000 small and medium-sized businesses in 2013 - Enterprise Europe Network North West and UK Export Finance.

There are also sector and region-specific bodies such as the China–Britain Business Council and the UK India Business Council promoting bi-lateral trade and investment. Beever and Struthers is ideally placed to provide expert advice – we have many clients with overseas interests and connections and are the only accountancy firm in the North West of England to be selected as a member of HLB International, a worldwide network of independent accountancy firms and business advisors operating in more than 100 countries, so we’re never far from a useful local contact.