Home Business NewsBusiness Brand Britain’s got swag. But what can be done to make it global?

Brand Britain’s got swag. But what can be done to make it global?

by LLB Reporter
11th Feb 16 1:15 pm

From Dyson to Cath Kidston to Jaguar Land Rover, brand Britain’s got swag.

But gone are the days exporting was the preserve of only big dogs with millions under their belt.

Currently, 53% of British SMEs export and the government aims to support 100,000 additional UK exporters to sell their goods and services overseas by 2020.

However, 58% of all British SMEs say they would like more support to crack global markets and boost brand Britain.

Enter Norwegian and UKTI.

The low-cost airline and the trade body recently took 10 great British small businesses to New York where they attended the global trade show NY NOW.

The businesses were among the 2,500 companies who participated in the five-day homeware, giftware and lifestyle expo.

At NY NOW, businesses met prospective buyers and learnt about key do’s and don’t to export abroad.

Why Norwegian flew businesses to the US

Dominic Tucker, head of sales UK – Norwegian, said that the airline’s low-cost long-haul flights from Gatwick to the US will come in handy for businesses going global without hurting the pocket.

“By providing low-cost and long-haul flights, we’re trying to do our bit to help small British busineses grow. We’ve got some great feedback from SME passengers who said we’re on the right track to help small businesses crack new markets.

“We understand that exporting can be a very daunting task for small businesses, they want to be as frugal as possible. That’s why we’re providing cheaper transatlantic travel with fares to the US from as little as £149.

“We aim to provide affordable travel to small businesses, entrepreneurs and enterprises and will be launching flights to other US cities like Boston and San Francisco very soon.”

Key UK export facts

UK exports of goods and services were £515 billion in 2014 (ONS).

The largest increases were to Switzerland (up £6.4 billion or 38.9%), Italy (up £1.3 billion or 8.5%) and China (up £1.1 billion or 6%) (ONS).

The five largest markets remained the US (£88 billion), Germany (£43.3 billion), the Netherlands (£34.1 billion), France (£30.6 billion) and Ireland (£27.9 billion) (ONS).

91% of our customers are small and medium-sized businesses.

Nearly one in five (19%) of our customers are new to exporting or have been exporting for less than one year.

70% of our customers reported that our support provided them ‘Significant Business Benefit’.

London Loves Business got an opportunity to go to New York to speak to British businesses trying to crack American markets, here’s what they told us:

Paul Adrian, CEO and founder, MOJO

What were the key takeaways for you from the show?

1. To crack export markets you need to have your product on the ground in the USA either at a warehouse /distribution centre or with distributors. This gives American consumers and buyers confidence and builds trust.

2. The US is a huge market so you should target specific geographical areas to be successfull.

3. Americans like buying from Americans – so if you can find an American to help sell your British product or service then that’ll help you crack markets.

What can the UK government do to help businesses like your export?

The trip was great for a business of my size as it allowed me to network and research the market. I think the UK Government should communicate the financial and cashflow benefits of exporting and tell businesses they should consider exporting from day one. This is because we live in a global market place and not some 19th Century Industrial hinterland.


Jinny, designer and owner, Jin Designs Ltd

What were the key takeaways for you from the show?

It’s one of the best home and giftware trade shows I’ve attended. Well-organised, well-presented and well-attended. This is the place for Jin Designs to find the right buyers and a great starting point for growing the business globally. It’s not an impossible dream. Visiting the show and seeing other British businesses exhibiting there was inspiring and showed what is achievable.

What can the UK government do to help businesses like your export?

One of the outcomes of the trip was realising how much support there is from UKTI. It’s just a question of using the resources that are available. I’d like to investigate whether UKTI can provide funding for exhibitions in the US and other countries. This would really help a business like Jin Designs. Cost is the big barrier to exporting. If you can overcome that the world is your oyster!


Jackie Hope, founder and director, SOAK Yourself Limited

What were the key takeaways for you from the show?

Exporting to the US is going to be a costly exercise and it is going to take time. This isn’t a problem however as I know that preparation is key, and I now have the knowledge I need (both from UKTI seminars, and on-foot research and visits) in order to launch in the US from a position of strength. I will utilise what is working here as far as marketing goes, and replicate this in the US, with slight tweaks in order to appeal to their market. 

What can the UK government do to help businesses like your export?

My biggest obstacle now is capital and cashflow required in order to launch effectively in the US. Funding from the government would be the most helpful.  Their current level of support is really fantastic, and I have only just started to tap into their resources and contacts.


Top things you need to know about Norwegian:
– Voted Best Low-Cost Airline in Europe and World’s Best Low-Cost Long-Haul Airline at the 2015 SkyTrax Airline Awards by passengers

– 3rd largest low-cost airline in Europe | 7th largest low-cost airline in the world

– The only airline to offer free inflight WiFi and live TV on all flights from the UK to more than 30 European destinations

– One of the youngest fleets in the world and over 200 aircraft on order – Norwegian will be the European launch customer for the Boeing 737 MAX8

– Norwegian has grown to become the third largest airline at London Gatwick with over 130 pilots and nearly 300 cabin crew operating from its Gatwick base

– Ranked most fuel efficient transatlantic airline by The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT)


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