Exporting can be a powerful driver of business growth, and small and medium-sized enterprises that sell overseas often find themselves more successful in their domestic market as a result of what they learn from exporting.
So, I was disheartened to see at a recent seminar hosted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, that only around 20 per cent of attendees polled were already exporting. Some 34.2 per cent said they were thinking about exporting in 2016, but were concerned about the risks. The main worry for these individuals? Not getting paid in full, on time, or at all.
Whether you are a small or big business, there are some constants when it comes to export. I think of them as the key P words: product, people, perseverance and payment. With regard to debt collection, it is extremely important that in selling a product to new markets, one does not become a busy fool.
With knowledge about the tools, processes and payment security options, export can be an easy and safe way to expand, with no risk of late payment. The UK is in an exciting position at the epicentre of the fintech boom, and I believe financial technology solutions will act as a one-stop shop for international trade, securing payments and removing the need for letters of credit, currency hedging, insurance, legal advice and bank-led funding in one step.
A Brexit would free small businesses in particular from the shackles of the mind numbingly bloated EU regulatory landscape. Regulation in Europe is made for big business, not small business. Big business has lobbyists sitting in Brussels, it has a vested interest in getting regulation to work for them. For small businesses, the vast amount of regulation with which they must comply represents a gun to their head. It destroys creativity and entrepreneurship.
Sure, there are benefits; in complying you get to do the trade that comes with being a member of the club. But in the case of a Brexit, British business will continue to trade both inside Europe and with the rest of the world. Trade with the rest of the world will not be from a standing start either, as much of the UK’s trade is already with the world outside of the EU.
Read more: UK fintech powerlist
The greatest thing about exporting is not having a wider and bigger market, but that you actually become more competitive at home. You expose yourself to so many more ideas and different ways of doing things, you learn from your rivals in other markets who might not be in Britain. It all helps you to become more productive and successful in your home market.
The fintech that will make the grade will have the great idea, the funding and credit terms, the insurance and the international ratings - they will take the risk off the table.