Microbusinesses driving export figures

Microbiz driving export

How can one microbusiness drive export business for other micro and small businesses?

Referrals!

Recently, I was undertaking a project for a German company. They already had various suppliers in place, but, based on the exchange rate, I challenged them to think again. For one part of the project a new legal company had to be found. They were saying that they would prefer a large corporate legal company based in Germany, but sometime specialist is best!

What did that lead to?

Here are three examples.

It led to an ongoing contract with a British legal company who only does patents and trademarks. Why get lost in a huge company where your business, and your client’s business doesn’t matter? Go into a specialist firm, your client is impressed with their knowledge, their responsiveness and the levels of customer service.

For giveaways, I proved that the exchange rate meant that they could save 10% compared to their normal supplier, with the exact same Prodir product. They were also impressed by the responsiveness and the delivery in a short timeframe. It may not sound like a lot, 10%, but think of it in terms of pens (the item in question) they were ordering 5000 so they got 500 for free! They have said that they will visit that supplier for other giveaways too.

When a key team member was off sick, finding an interim in Germany can be a challenge (there are very strict laws on temporary workers). But a quick search of specialist interim companies in the UK, meant that I found one that specialises in bi-lingual German / English staff. The key team member came back much earlier than expected, but the link had been made and the HR department told me that they would be using them going forwards.

What did I get out of it?

Well apart from my contract with the German company, I got nothing.

No referral fees, no cash, no leads, no reciprocal referrals (hopefully in the future for the latter!).

I got something a lot more important. I got the knowledge that I was building links into other microbusinesses and supporting their growth too.

Since introducing the German contract I have been in touch with the legal company again, it wasn’t their cup of tea but they referred me to another small company who could help that particular UK client.

What did the UK economy get out of it?

Well at least three times what I was paid was invoiced back to other UK micro and small businesses, so a real win win.

How can you drive microbusinesses forward?

Use them. Refer them. Support them

Targets

Don’t forget that your targets are interested in WIIFM (what’s in it for me), so make all communications relevant to the WIIFM. It may not be the points you want to stress about your product, but remove the perceived hurdles from the customer’s point of view and see the sales come in.

An Exhibition

An Exhibition
Don’t just turn up to an exhibition and expect people to queue up to talk to you if you’ve not told them ahead of time you will be there: Tell people you are going to be there so that they seek you out and then tell people that you were there so that they look out for you next time.

Catrina Clulow

Objectives

Know where you want to get to and then plan your activities to get you there. Concentrate on your own path not that of following your competitors every action.

Catrina Clulow

Marketing activity

Why are we doing this? When….? How….? Who ….? What…? Where….? The basic questions you need to ask for each marketing activity to decide whether to do it or not, no matter how big or small your company.

Catrina Clulow