Exporting to Success On and Off the Field: A Not Too Serious View of the Exporting Landscape

Duncan Hoyland, Export Co-ordinator Sheffield City Region 

If you read anything by me, you will see that I bang on about exporting being central to sustained growth. I do it because overall its true. It also drives productivity and makes the whole company more competitive. Exporting is not complicated just different.  It is still growth and one of the few ways you can add the greatest value to your business. One of the best ways to illustrate this is through my favourite pastime, football, and whilst watching it on TV the other day I was struck by Huddersfield town. If you were an exporter you might want to think like Huddersfield.

You strive to do well in the market and then you get promoted into the Premier League. Think about it. You are still playing the same game in the same colours and the rules are the same, but some things are fundamentally different.

Competition is harder and exposure is greater, but with that the rewards for winning are greater. Cashflow and turnover is massively increased and the potential rewards globally are significant. You never know, you may even be the first thing that people think of when they mention your town.

International skills and languages come into the business and you are likely to deal with German, Italian and Spanish agents… it’s probable your exposure on the web will increase but that’s ok, your expanding marketing team will look after that.

You have a bigger and stronger team who will develop better skills to compete. You will do this by improving company structures and you are likely to improve your training facilities. Driving better skills in your business is critical to results on the field. You will improve stadium/production facilities. You may even have to do a production run at 16:00 on a Sunday afternoon.

There is every possibility you will get more visitors from overseas and you will need to handle currency exchanges and undertake some international marketing. You may not go as far as Chinese logo on your staff uniforms.

Success will likely mean awards both as a team but also recognition by your peers. That Queens FA Cup Award should be possible.

Now you are in the premier league, exporting is going well and the next stage is getting into Europe. It’s still growth but as we know it, just a little different. It’s unlikely you’re going to want to return to playing in front of 2000 on a cold damp Tuesday night. As a Barnsley fan I know I’m looking for my team to start exporting again. However, if setbacks do happen you know you will probably have the right access to finance to start winning again.

When you think about it, football and exporting is a funny old game.