Export with the 'Bulldog Spirit'

Fri 10 May 2013
Posted by: Rob Denman, Editor-in-Chief, Pathfinder Business
IOE News

Export with the ‘Bulldog Spirit’ to the right place and keep the bruises to a minimum.

Deciding what you want to make is not as important as understanding what customers want to buy – and at what price and in what location.

All markets want a slightly different thing at a different time and at a different price. It is great that John Meredith has launched Project Bulldog to help British exporters get their goods to market but should the boat with your goods turn left or right when it exits the docks?

In many cases the best potential for export is in the least likely location. For instance, how many firms involved in the manufacture of dry-cleaning machinery and products thought that Somalia – a land perceived as more famous for ‘pirates’ than ‘pin-stripes’ – could be a prime business location?

Yet Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, was crying out for local dry-cleaning businesses. So much so, that many residents were willing to fly dirty laundry to Nairobi in neighbouring Kenya for a thorough cleaning.

The internet has enabled us all to access information easier and quicker than ever before and at PathfinderBuzz we have covered the need for cleantech energy technology in Djibouti, high-end fashion, electronic and home goods in India, car components in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

The tea clipper made the world of exports a smaller, faster place. The jet plane increased that exponentially.

The internet has shrunk it to pocket-size and we can now engage with a foreign market in milliseconds rather than the months it took the original global traders.

An entrepreneur in Mogadishu or Manchester (no similarities implied) can – through the internet and digital – understand opportunities and the products required to fill it.

A budding exporter is going to have to look further a-field faster in order to scoop the competition.

We hope British exporters take up Mr Meredith’s offer of support to head out into the world but my memory of the playground game of ‘British Bulldog’ left me with many bruises.

To avoid the same in the business world I hope you also spend time working out where you are heading before you start.