So, you’ve decided you want to export. You’ve picked your product or service and you have researched your market. But how do you get your offer in the hands of people abroad?

There are a number of ways you can do this. You can:

  • sell direct
  • sell via an agent or distributor
  • sell via license or franchise
  • or set up an overseas operation.

This is a BIG step and should not be undertaken without further extensive research. As the Department for International Trade (DIT) says: “To find out the best route for your business, be prepared to research and get advice on what’s already happening in your target market. You’ll need to determine, for example, where customers are currently buying from and whether it’s the norm to have local representation, such as a distributor.”

Another tip is to ensure your intellectual property is secured in the market you are trading in. Unfortunately, some markets are better than others. The export road is littered with cheap copycats. See our gallery of Top 5 rips off.

If you go down the route of having a representative abroad there are some other things to consider.

An agent negotiates sales on your behalf so your product or service is delivered directly to the customer. The agent is simply identifying and ‘warming’ up the customer in return for an agreed commission. Using an agent can be a cost-effective choice as the right one will:

  • know the market
  • communicate regularly with you
  • help to overcome language issues
  • already be working with potential customers.

Distributors buy products from you and then sell to their customers. You invoice the distributor who holds the stock, adds a mark-up and sells to the end customer. A good distributor will:

  • understand your overseas market and legal issues
  • bear the currency risk
  • provide warehousing
  • provide local after-sales support.

Fortunately, here at Business East Sussex we understand the complexity of exporting. That’s why we have linked up with DIT for an exclusive Breakfast Briefing. The event is being held next week on 19th September at Buxted Park Hotel.

This is not just another networking event. If you have an interest in working with international clients or suppliers and exploring new markets, this event will introduce you to the sources of support, help and finance that could make it happen for your business.

The morning will allow you to learn about the support available to you to start exporting or if you export already how you can grow your exports.

Specialists will be on hand to answer your questions on finding foreign markets, financing foreign trade and planning for growth.

To book your place see: