Expanding your business internationally: Tips for success

For many businesses, domestic markets can only take them so far, leaving owners looking for new opportunities to grow their businesses internationally.

Whilst post-Brexit trade regulations have created challenges for trading with neighbouring countries, there are still many prospects in Europe and beyond to market products and achieve exponential growth.

Expanding globally can be complex, involving intricate logistics and requiring protection against international credit and export risks. It may also involve navigating potential changes to import and export rules, particularly with the European Union (EU).

Here are a few tips to get started:

Join the UK Export Academy

The UK Export Academy is a free training programme offered by international trade experts. It provides masterclasses and foundation courses on topics ranging from trade deals and intellectual property to how to reach audiences abroad.

There are also specialised courses tailored to different sectors, such as the education industry and food and drink.

Explore new marketplaces

Marketplace tools such as Shopify, Etsy, Amazon and eBay offer many opportunities for businesses to promote their goods and services to international customers.

Utilising these tools is a great way to test international sales opportunities.

Conduct due diligence

Before initiating business relationships with international partners, it is crucial to conduct due diligence. This involves examining the legal, financial, fiscal and economic circumstances of the business or individual.

Accessing company and credit information online is now possible for most of the UK’s common trading partner countries.

Hire a customs specialist

When trading goods internationally, it is wise to hire a customs specialist with expertise in customs issues, especially when dealing with the EU.

Freight forwarders, customs agents, brokers or fast parcel operators can help navigate the complexities of international trade.

While businesses can invest in their customs software, it may be simpler to use an agent who can work closely with accountants to facilitate international trade.

Providing accurate information about the goods is essential to complete import and export declarations correctly.

You will need to provide the customs specialist with:

• EORI number

• Invoices or contracts

• Descriptions of the goods being imported or exported

• Necessary licenses or certifications

Navigating VAT

Selling goods or services to consumers in different countries can present challenges in navigating VAT. Each EU country has its own VAT registration thresholds and rates, making VAT a complex area.

Non-compliance or late compliance can result in penalties or fines from the EU tax authorities. Are you looking to expand your business and explore international opportunities, we are here to help. Contact us today for advice.

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