If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting the results you’ve been getting.
Albert Einstein said this and it’s been used by many business gurus in developing their ideologies but never has it been more true.
The Institute has been busily changing and adapting to the ever changing world of international trade and the way in which people learn and develop competences.
In changing, we have noticed that we need to realise that many aspects of how we all communicate have evolved using new media integrated with the more traditional styles.
We also find that the businesses we support are asking different, more detailed and surprising questions – questions that wouldn’t be asked at all if only there was a better basic understanding of the working of international trade.
It is the stated goal of the government to achieve £1 trillion in exports by 2020 but if we keep doing what we’re doing, at the present rate of growth – £300bn exports in 2012 and £304bn in 2013 – we simply will not meet this ambitious target by 2020.
So what needs to change?
Our members are working in many areas and those working within international trade advice are the ones who would be best placed to support businesses practically. There has never been a more important time to put their experience into action by supporting and putting the businesses on to the right path to export success – not just with advice but by putting ‘interim export managers’ in place to help implement new market entry programmes.
How about looking at the to support businesses when they are investing in a new market, accruing costs against a new market entry plan that could take between 12-18 months before the first sale is made?
Let’s help them by making it attractive to invest and develop plans that can make it work. To ensure that the first market entry plan is a workable plan not a stab at something (a tough learning curve that can cost a company dearly).
If the government wants to claim back the costs once the first sale is made then the business will need to be in to profit by that stage – or at least have the wherewithal to make it work.
It should also be mandatory that any company spends time going through a proper Market Selection Process. Only they really know how their business works, so they should complete the Market Selection Process before they approach UKTI with a firm idea of where they need to go – rather than going where there is a trade mission locally, although hopefully there will be a trade exhibition at least that they can attend. This will enable the business to effectively use the available UKTI support to ensure that they are going to the right market and once they get this right they can replicate the process in other markets.
It is vital that we educate our young people to understand more about being part of a global market place and how international trade works. It must be part of our basic business education if we are to embed international trade into our psyche – and we must start now.
The Institute is working on a programme to encourage 10,000 young people to attend workshops called Let’s Take Exporting Seriously– do get involved – there is a full programme of activity and it needs experts from the Institute to help ensure that young people understand how international trade works. Barclays are joining us, we are talking to HSBC and RBS, and we have commitments from many other businesses too.
Let’s stop just doing what we’ve been doing and start doing something different!