I have recently moved my business, Hallam Internet Ltd, to larger premises in Nottingham as we expand and increase staff numbers to nine.
This seems slightly at odds with the picture that is painted of the economy, with a doubledip recession and news of job losses and firms closing.
But what has kept my business going and what will continue to help us grow is our work overseas. As a digital marketing agency I began working domestically in the East and West Midlands – and have developed the largest firm of its kind in the UK. But that’s not enough to sustain business and grow so we have developed a significant overseas client base, which makes up eight per cent of the business.
It’s what has maintained, in fact helped us grow, our business through a downturn.
We have worked with clients in seven countries including Belize, Hungary, Ireland, and Lebanon.
So I know from personal experience that exports really are the saviour of our economy – not only do exports give firms new orders and so more profits, it’s also been shown that firms that export boost innovation, competitiveness and productivity – which has a positive effect on their domestic sales -and in my case this has been true.
By exporting to different markets firms are helping to secure their future and that of their employees – SMEs employ 60 per cent of the private sector workforce.
In my new role as chairman of emita (the East Midlands International Trade Association) I’m determined to contribute to UK Trade & Investment’s goals of boosting exports to ensure a buoyant economy for our SMEs.
Together with UKTI, our sponsors, partners and regional business at large, I am hoping to deliver a programme of events and support that our members can draw on and that will ultimately deliver an ever greater contribution to regional export performance.
In the coming months we have already confirmed a range of events to help local firms- from a social media and wesite optimisation course on 20 March to a Turkey talk on 24 April and a special event about exploring the Middle East in June.
We have regular special events and a packed programme of activities to help firms grab the bull by the horns, shake off their fears and embrace the opportunities out there.
Exporting can be a scary concept – but it uses the same principles of business so with a little help it’s not only possible but enjoyable