On Monday 8th October, the Sunday Business Post featured 5 tips for companies expanding their business into the UK which remains our biggest market. The Post spoke to Christine Esson, the UK Manager at Enterprise Ireland who advised on the following:
Tip 1: Don't underestimate the differences
While Ireland and Britain have a lot in common, entering into the British market can prove to be a tougher task than many start-ups realise. It is important not to underestimate the work involved in moving into a new market and research the differences, even if it is a market close to home.
The size of the British market is also worth bearing in mind. Finding the right area to do business can be crucial to success. It is important to look outside London towards other parts of England and Scotland, depending on the sector and location of potential customers.
Tip 2. Gather as much intelligence as possible
One of the most important things to do when entering any new market is to arrive armed with as much information as possible and the British market is no different.
A start-up needs to know its potential customers and competitors. It is also not enough to just have it going in, intelligence gathering should be a continuous process.
"For me, business intelligence gathering is the be all and end all to a successful market entry strategy," said Esson. "It feeds into all the other steps to market entry."
Tip 3. Be clear on what you are offering
The intelligence aspect doesn't just apply to market research, a firm needs to be very clear on what it is offering. More importantly, a company needs to be able to effectively communicate its message and what makes it different.
"Before entering the UK market, you must understand and be able to clearly communicate your unique solution," said Esson. "You may be able to get in front of a buyer at a big firm, they might only give you two minutes. You have to quickly be able to articulate why someone should move to your product or service. Through good continuous research you should be able to articulate that."
Tip 4. Leverage existing contacts
Prior to going looking for new customers in Britain, it is worthwhile having a look through an existing contacts book to work any connections.
"Often companies don't work their contacts," said Esson. "We are fortunate in having a number of international businesses in Ireland. Many companies already supply an international firm in Ireland, the buyer there may be also the buyer for the UK or at the very least will know them. They may afford you an introduction. It is far better having an introduction than hearing a strange voice over the phone."
Tip 5. Set up a British-based team
The relatively short distance between Ireland and Britain means it can be tempting to many firms to try to run both businesses from home. Britain is a separate market and it is vital to have a dedicated person or team based there. Finding the right person to represent a firm in Britain, be they Irish or British, can be one of the most important success factors.
"Having a UK team can be fundamental to the export process," said Esson. "A team could be just one person but putting significant time and resources into finding a UK face is far better than losing time, money and possibly business reputation. You only get one chance at a first impression. Having someone on the ground means they can network more significantly."
And the bonus tip for entering the UK Market …..
When you make that jump and establish your business in the UK, Paycheck Plus can provide you with a UK Payroll solution ensuring your employees are paid correctly. With our Team of payroll experts looking after your UK Payroll and HMRC Returns, you can focus on developing your business. For further details of our UK Payroll Outsource Service contact us today or call us on 01 9059400 from Ireland or on 0808 234 0504 from the UK.