Partners In Export UK are a consultancy and export company based in Luton. Peter Jenkin, a former Export Manager with over twenty years’ experience, set up the company six years ago to help companies get their products into international markets.
Peter realised that while there are plenty of people providing information about exporting, companies don’t always know how to deal with that information. Partners in Export UK aims to take the worry out of their hands.
In a recent interview, Peter talked to us about his company and dispelled some of the common misconceptions about exporting. He also offers his top tips for companies thinking about taking the leap.
How does Partners In Export UK help companies move into international markets?
“We work on a short-term contract basis as either an International Manager or Export Manager, depending on the clients' needs. The process is to locate and find partners you can work with and arrange meetings with them, with a view to setting up distributor agreements and working arrangements. It's important to note this does not apply just for materials but for services as well. We endeavour to tick every single box to remove your worries and problems as businesses tend to put in front of them many challenges as to why they cant do international business."
“There are a lot of excellent companies who could easily export overseas. But the main worries they have are:
“We normally work on a short-term contract basis, usually six to nine months, which is extendable if required. That’s from start to date to actually getting them with partners and working on their first orders."
What is the first hurdle companies face when exporting?
“The first hurdle companies face is the belief that their products or services could be acceptable in another country. But if you already have a product/service sold freely within the uk, you can, in most cases, do the same thing outside of the UK."
“Sometimes products can be quite limited because they are very specific for an industry. But efforts should be made to investigate alternative markets, even areas beyond Europe, such as Africa, the middle east or further afield. Products and services from the UK are usually highly sought after in international markets. You have to dip your toe in the water to find out if there's a demand for yours.”
What are some of the common concerns people have when entering international markets?
“Many people are daunted by the potential documentation required in exporting. There are, to a degree, documents that need to be filled out, but they're not excessive. And once you’ve done it once and are shown how to do it, filling them out becomes almost second nature and it shouldn't be seen as a restriction."
“When dealing with clients the main challenge companies face is agreeing creditor days. You have to be firm but fair because a client you could potentially want to work with try to push for more creditor days than you're comfortable with. However, you will need to be a little flexible in negotiating your payment terms. In most cases you will be able to find a happy medium that you can both work with."
How does payment typically work?
"There are various payment methods which can be used:
- payment upfront with accepted order
- 50% up front with 50% payable before shipment
- letter of credit
- deferred letter of credit
- open account with creditor days
All of the above are used widely across international business. You will find each potential customer will have a preference for one of them."
What are your top tips for people looking at exporting their products for the first time?
1. Take an overview of your business
"Take a long look at your business to see if possible it could be extending into international markets and if so have you set aside a budget for this to be done, because most companies feel it takes little or no time to do but it is actually quite labour intensive to start with. but once the market is broken the returning rewards are well worth the initial investment and time."
2. Seek advice
"It is important to obtain as much information as possible about potential markets to ensure that when you go to a market it's the right one for your service or product. A good place to start is the Department of International Trade (DIT). They provide a really good, informative service. It will cost you nothing, just an hour of your time."
"Myself and my team will make these arrangements for you, including the meetings to ensure that before you spend large sums of money you have all the information you require to make a good commercial decision."
3. Be persistent
"Once you’ve started knocking on doors you have to follow it through. You have to remember that this is not the UK and the culture is different and maintaining good communication and dialogue with potential customers is essential in maintaining and building excellent business relationships as trust needs to be built up between both parties."
Working with the Chamber
Partners In Export UK have been a member of the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce since 2015. Their membership has enabled them to connect with other Chamber members and they have gained more business through those connections.
“The Chamber is a really useful place of knowledge and there are a lot of good businesses in the membership. The chamber itself host excellent networking events and their small team are very proactive.”
Ready to take your first steps into international business?
Exporting can bring in a new stream of revenue to your bottom line. Yet some businesses remain reluctant to take that leap. Peter offers this final piece of advice for anyone considering taking their products internationally:
“In summary, breaking into international markets will bring a new stream of revenue to your bottom line. Although many businesses remain reluctant to take the leap of faith, Partners In Export can assist and guide you into making the right decision for your business and get you through the challenges you fear when working with international customers."
You can contact Peter Jenkin at Partners In Export for a free, no obligations chat about your exporting ambitions. Get in touch here.