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

What are the components of a marketing toolkit?

Just think about it for a second and see what you can come up with.

Done thinking?

Well some of the traditional things that you can use are: advertising (press, outdoor, radio and TV); direct mail/ direct email; exhibitions; leaflet drops; PR; seminars; shop window displays; telemarketing; website; workshops.

But what about the newer technologies, aren’t they just complicated and only for technophiles? Well things like blogs; social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and all the rest as they come and go (remember MySpace anyone?); webinars: These are not just for the techies amongst us (as I am proving here) but also a good way to have a dialogue with your customers and prospects; to help you build up a long standing relationship (after all it is 8x more expensive to acquire a customer as to keep an existing one as the old adage goes).