Why trading internationally isn’t just for big businesses

Think your e-commerce business is too small to trade overseas? We share the services and solutions helping your start-up to unlock its global potential…

As a start-up or early-stage e-commerce business, it’s easy to convince yourself that expanding internationally requires a lot of work.

Misconceptions about what it takes to go global mean growing overseas is often perceived as an opportunity only accessible to big businesses with even bigger budgets.

While it’s true that trading internationally requires you to manage international finances and collaborate with international customers, your start-up can now tap into world-class products and solutions which level the playing field – giving your small business the same expansion opportunities as larger, more established companies.

It has never been easier for small businesses to explore new horizons which is why we’ve created a quick guide to some simple solutions you can use to get your small business trading internationally…

The fintech democratising international finance

From working with unfamiliar currencies to paying out international transaction fees, the financial barriers for start-ups and small businesses who want to go global can seem daunting.

However, financial technology (fintech) products such as WorldFirst’s World Account are making international banking more affordable and accessible for even the smallest of businesses.

A new way to save time and money for small and medium sized enterprises who do business in different currencies, World Account enables you to open multiple international currency accounts in GBP, Euros, US dollars, Australian dollars and Canadian dollars.

You can also make instant transfers, keep funds topped up from a domestic account, and pay local suppliers in their own currency – allowing you to “do business like a local”.

WorldFirst doesn’t charge a transaction fee to accept payments from international customers – nor does it charge these customers a fee to pay your business.

So, not only is more money left in your business’ pocket, international customers have an added incentive to purchase from you.

The e-commerce platforms opening up trade opportunities

E-commerce platforms such as Amazon and eBay are making it easier than ever for small businesses to sell to customers across the globe for no overheads (not to mention that these marketplaces are a great place for aspiring entrepreneurs to kick off their operations).

For example, today you could start an international e-commerce business in a flash by sourcing Chinese products through Alibaba.com and then selling them across Amazon – all from the comfort of your home.

For a start-up on a tight budget, selling on Amazon won’t break the bank as there are small per-item fees for those businesses who sell a little per month, or a single monthly subscription fee for businesses who sell many items.

For most small business, the benefits of using a marketplace will certainly outweigh the costs, with online platforms giving businesses access to millions of customers around the world. In fact, Amazon says that by 2018 it had a base of over 340 million online buyers across Europe alone.

And, when it comes to money-making potential through online marketplace the numbers speak for themselves, with over 200 UK entrepreneurs reaching millionaire status through eBay between 2013 and 2017.

The cloud technology keeping you connected with the world

Cloud technology is making it easier and more affordable to communicate with clients and customers around the world.

Cloud-based phone systems enable you to connect with employees and customers across different countries, several cloud providers offer video conferencing tools as part of their packages. You can also link your office phone number to your mobile to take important calls between locations wherever you are.

Cloud-based productivity apps enable your business to share goals, tasks and pipelines with staff in every location, while file storage systems mean your employees can access work documents from anywhere in the world. Similarly, cloud email can be accessed through any device, anywhere – as long as there’s an internet connection.

Packages often come in the form of monthly subscriptions, making them more affordable to start-ups than services which require a single, up-front investment.

The social media channels giving your business a free, global marketing platform

Social media channels such as Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook may not necessarily stand out as a route to trading internationally but, considering the amount of daily usage that these apps and websites attract from users across the globe, they are a powerful tool not to be overlooked.

According to Statista, Facebook currently has over two billion active users, while Instagram boasts 800 million and Twitter has 330 million – that’s a huge pool of potential customers worldwide to tap into.

While you can attract and engage with prospective customers outside of the UK for free, you can also target users within particular countries and geographies by paying for promoted posts – this ensures that your business is seen by your target demographic.

If you don’t have the funds for paid social media activity, never fear. It’s worth remembering that business accounts on these social media platforms are free to set up, and just because you’re not paying for any of their services, it doesn’t mean that your social media profile won’t have the potential to boom. Make use of both trending and relevant hashtags to make your business easier for prospective customers to find.

By using organic techniques to seek out potential customers and grow your own following, you can foster your social media channels into marketing platforms that are seen by customers around the world.

Realise your business’ global potential today

If you’ve previously thought international trade wasn’t accessible for you then you should now see that, with the right tools and solutions at your disposal, going global is well within your business’ reach.

From social media tools to game-changing fintech, you can now trade in multiple currencies and talk to customers and clients across the world with ease.

The world is calling so isn’t it time your small business capitalised on overseas opportunities?

WorldFirst has partnered with Startups.co.uk to launch The World Is Calling; an initiative to educate and encourage UK start-ups and small businesses to unlock their global ambitions. Learn more about WorldFirst’s WorldAccount here.