Looking to take your business global?

Follow these tips to help you on your way to international expansion.

Once you’ve established your business in the UK the next step could be to go global. This can be a costly and risky move, but one that could increase your profits. Here’s what cream tea fanatic and Worldpay customer Jane Malyon, of The English Cream Tea Company, believes is key to business success:

Research the international market

Before you expand your business internationally you need to ensure that your product will actually sell in that country. Your product may be popular amongst your UK customers, but that doesn’t mean it will be viable in other countries. When Jane Malyon launched The English Cream Tea Company in 2011 she soon found that she was getting enquiries from international customers, which led her to finding new ways to serve international customers. “It’s obviously not possible to create freshly made sandwiches, scones, cream and pastries for delivery to places as far afield as the US, Australia and Japan. So we explored the creation of non-perishable products and gifts associated with afternoon tea, such as preserves, tea, cake tins and so on.”

Don’t spread your business too thinly

In addition to this you’ll need to take into account which countries you can export to, you can do this by seeking advice from the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), and then pinpoint countries where your business is most likely to take off. When it comes to selecting countries Malyon recommends you avoid “a scattergun approach and focus on 30 countries but do your research and pick the top few. Look at things like exchange rate, social media engagement and demand for your product inside the country.” Once you’ve established your company in a few countries you can look to go even further.

Update your website

The first port of call for international customers will be your website, so make sure you update your site and highlight your international services. The English Cream Tea Company extended its reach by offering international customers ‘postable treats’, and advertising this through professionally taken photos and YouTube video. Maylon notes that “this is very important if you have a very ‘visual’ product” as it is how people are persuaded to buy online.

Read more: Could you improve your online payment offering? Request a callback from Worldpay

Create a global social media campaign

For extra exposure engage with your international customers through social media. The best thing about social media is that it can expose you to a global audience and save you money on marketing your business to new audiences. The English Cream Tea Company promoted its brand by producing a YouTube series on ‘the manners of afternoon tea’, their latest video has already had over 83,000 hits. “Our website overhaul will be accompanied with a new YouTube video, Facebook competition, e-newsletter, Twitter and Pinterest. We’re still a tiny company so being able to use a worldwide medium like YouTube or Facebook is a great business tool.”

Build partnerships

Business partnerships and joint ventures are a great way to increase company exposure. The English Cream Tea Company benefitted from a joint venture with clothing firm East. “We provided clothing firm East with a hamper for a competition it was running, and in return we asked them to give customers on their site the opportunity to also opt-in receiving updates from us. And 4,000 customers have done so far.” You can look extend your reach with international companies, or other UK brands who have been successful in taking their company global.

Thanks to Jane Malyon founder of The English Cream Tea Company for sharing her tips.

Taking payments online can increase your turnover by 40%1 and help you attract new customers both locally and overseas. Request a callback from Worldpay to see how they could improve your online payment offering.

1Survey of 2750 UK small and medium businesses, Worldpay Research 2015

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  1. Graham @ Iota
    Edit profile

    All very valuable advice, but I’m surprised to see no mention of translation or localisation. If you’re serious about selling into markets outside the UK where English isn’t the first language, this is crucial. Web content, social media, packaging info, any software user interfaces etc… must be translated and localised for your target market. English reaches only 36 percent of the world’s online and offline buyers. In a CSA study of 3000 buyers, 75% of respondents indicated that when deciding between two similar products, they would buy the product available in their native language.

    Disclosure: I work for a localisation company, but don’t think that invalidates the point.