Ned Shelton is the founder and managing partner of Sheltons Accountants. He is also one of the panelists at MemberCon23, joining a discussion about how the UK can make the most of its post-Brexit trade deals.
It’s a topic he admits is close to his heart.
But, as well as looking forward to the discussion on this issue, he says he is also going to enjoy interacting with fellow panelists and other Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) members and conference delegates.
“We all have something in common in international trade,” he explains.
“We all love the international world and I'm really looking forward to spending time during the day, and into the evening with the various participants and speakers.”
Focused on international trade
Sheltons only deals with clients that have international activity and operations. Ned Shelton says as a result over the years he has seen a lot of businesses move into international trade, including many in services.
However, not all of them succeed. He says:
“We often see businesses that give it a shot and fail. The single most relevant piece of practical advice I would give potential exporters, or those who want to set up operations abroad, is do your research.
“And that is not just about staying at home using Google. There are many ways to do research. One way we advocate is talking to people on the ground in your target market in the destination country.”
But it’s not enough to just have people on the ground. They also need to ask the right people the right questions.
Shelton cites the example of a Danish bed company that wanted to break into the US market. They sent a couple of representatives stateside to visit lots of stores selling similar products. They looked at the US prices and decided they could easily match or beat them.
“They launched, but initially failed miserably,” says Shelton.
“The reason was they didn't know that the prices as advertised in the US, including the prices on beds, were set with a view to being able to give the customer a 20% discount.
“They didn't know that the actual price was 20% lower than the price marked. That's a little like going and Googling stuff and not speaking to people on the ground.”
A new era for UK trade
With the UK’s first two post-Brexit trade deals having recently come into force and with several more at various stages of negotiation, including a potentially huge deal with India, this panel is looking at the question of how businesses and the country as a whole can make the most of these trade deals.
Moderated by Professor Sangeeta Khorana, chair of the IOE&IT Academic Board, the panel will include Marian Sudbury OBE, director of UK regions, at the Department for Business and Trade, Henriette Gjaerde, trade & customs stakeholder relationship specialist at the IOE&IT and Robin Baker, research analyst at the London School of Economics.
MemberCon23 is taking place on 5 July 2023, 9am to 4.30pm (5.30 pm if you’d like to stay for drinks) at Spaces at The Spine in Liverpool. To find out more and book a ticket, visit our website.