Robert McLeod

The MSB Br-export opportunity?

Posted on 13th August 2018 by Robert McLeod

In the current climate, export is no longer a domain solely for large corporate businesses. With the advent of digital, tech and the internet – coupled with the agility and innovation smaller firms bring to their sectors – medium sized businesses, MSBs, are now exporters by nature.

UK MSBs also face an unprecedented opportunity in international trade planning with Brexit on the horizon. So with all the unknowns ahead, what can MSBs do to capitalise on the opportunity and use it to their advantage, while the rest of their markets become unsettled?

Risk aversion is the biggest blocker to growth

The perception persists among MSB owners and shareholders, that using export as a lever for business growth is a high risk strategy. Either from an international regulatory perspective or the potential for tariff change – both waters further muddied by Brexit – MSBs are risk averse due to the fear of financial loss or business disruption.

The overwhelming nature of the scale of opportunity can leave many new-to-export MSBs unsure where to start, but a first mover strategy in export expansion however could be sound for many UK businesses. With the perception of risk often higher than the reality of risk – exporters need to move from a mindset of entrenchment to one of broader horizons.

Numerous sources of support exist for MSBs to sensibly navigate the perceived risks of export; be that in finding the right local partner or properly assessing local employment and investment laws. If that right connection is made, the entry into the world of global trade is all the easier.

Moving with rapid global change is essential

Emerging markets the world over are opening up to international trade as the third industrial revolution takes hold. From South East Asia to Africa, there is trade potential across sectors with nimble and globally-focussed partners.

The opportunity ahead is staggering, but the uncertainty of Brexit is overshadowing what could be the biggest trade mobiliser in a generation. Whilst for some politicians Brexit is to be perceived as a great drive to reignite the buccaneering nature of British businesses, the potential to lose full access to our largest export market is enough to deepen conservative attitudes to trade in many MSBs.

The new, agile MSB, will be able to adapt to changing markets and will plan for variation in key target markets over time. Unencumbered by the large bureaucracies of multinationals, MSBs will be able to react to new challenges and and opportunities in international markets with certainty.

Planning for post-Brexit success

The key to this is simple;

  • Be risk aware, not risk averse
  • Plan but expect the unexpected
  • Prepare a strategy with a stop contingency
  • Seek out guidance – help is out there! From regulation to risk, from market-entry to export credit, there are numerous partners who can support MSB export goals.

With the right support and the right adaptive contingency planning, MSBs can embrace the world of exports. The real risk for businesses is risk aversion – losing out to competitors who enter a market before you can be an unrecoverable position. In the context of Brexit, MSBs can’t afford to do nothing.

The biggest challenge could be convincing them of that. Our award-winning thought leadership and strategic marketing services has connected law firms with their prospects for 15 years, creating lasting, valuable partnerships. Get in touch with our International Trade team at trade@manbitesdog.com, and find out how we can help.

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