Building Export Potential

One of the interesting facts to arise out of the Chancellor’s 2013 Budget speech is that for the first time in twenty years the UK is now exporting more goods to non-EU countries than to EU countries. Just 40% of our exports now go to countries within the Eurozone with exports to Brazil, India and China rising by two-thirds.

This trade turn-around reflects both the economic difficulties seen across the Eurozone and the effort which the UK Government is making tap into growth areas across the world. And with the OBR remaining gloomy about the Eurozone’s prospects we could expect this trade trend to continue for some time to come.

As the appreciation of British exports grows across the world, there is an opportunity for other UK businesses to look to expand their own export markets. But if you are to trade with the world you need to be able to make it easy for the world to get in touch. That’s where services such as internet telephony and international numbers can make all the difference.

Internet telephony, or VoIP enables businesses to make calls across the world via the internet. VoIP to VoIP calls can be made for a fraction of the cost of normal landline calls and even VoIP to landline calls can result in considerable cost savings. This means that keeping in touch with your marketplace is far more cost effective and as people do business with people, this can result in an increased export potential.

But aside from cheap calls, for people to trade with you they have to know that you exist. Setting up and advertising an international freephone or international regional number means that you can encourage potential clients to contact you without necessarily setting up a base within that country. For example a China 401 Toll Free number enables callers across China to contact you, using one simple number. With the calls diverted to your home base, or bases as required, you can access a vast market with a single number.

Similarly, businesses looking to buck the trend and grow their Eurozone markets may decide to adopt an international regional number for each of the EU countries in which they wish to trade. With “local” numbers for Berlin, Paris and Madrid, for example, all being diverted back to your UK headquarters, there is an increased chance of reaching new marketplaces. Add in a virtual switchboard which recognises the caller’s area code and diverts phones to an appropriate language speaker within your team and you are well on the way to establishing that vital dialogue.

Although the Chancellor commented on the fact that the OBR has revised its forecast for world trade downwards in the last six months, with exports to some countries rising this is an ideal time to make that export push. Aligning your phone system with your marketplace is an important step in growing international trade.

Written by Lawrence Gow