https://healthcareuk.blog.gov.uk/2015/06/02/back-to-business/

Back to business

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After this long pre-election period of silence, we come back live to showcase some of the most interesting stories from Healthcare UK.

We travel around the world to identify the most promising markets and promote your business interests to overseas purchasers.

Next week, we will have some new posts to share with you on our latest trips.

First, I thought I would reflect on the general atmosphere at the heart of Whitehall following the election.

Her Majesty The Queen has delivered her speech at the Houses of Parliament. The speech included proposed legislation on areas of relevance for UKTI's activities – including devolution of powers to cities, the EU, global relationships and help for small businesses.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has announced that there will be a Summer Budget on Wednesday 8 July 2015.

And UKTI has a new Minister for Trade and Investment: Francis Maude, who has announced the First Time Exporters initiative, a new package of support which includes training and advice for companies selling overseas for the first time.

This includes the opportunity to take part in trade missions to nearby markets to help them develop their first contacts with foreign buyers. It also helps companies, who are considering exporting for the first time, to take advantage of digital opportunities, offering dedicated digital trade advisers and an online tool designed to assist their export planning.

This announcement marked the beginning of Export Week 2015. For those not familiar with Export Week; over 1,500 businesses take part in 70 events UK wide aimed at inspiring them to start their export journey or increase their international business.

Potential exporters are being offered an outstanding platform to showcase their business to the world and maximise their full potential in international markets at the Milan Expo 2015, which launched on 1 May.

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The UK Pavilion has hosted around 100,000 visitors since launch. As part of UKTI's Grown in Britain global business programme, companies participating in Expo will be able to meet global buyers who have the potential to become valuable export partners.

UKTI aims that business activity linked to Milan Expo will deliver £1 billion economic benefit to the UK over time.

Finally, here is something I found on our intranet, which I thought had to get out.

Here are the five overarching principles to being a successful exporter. I am sure they will seem second nature to most of you. These are a willingness to listen , innovation, an opportunistic outlook, perseverance, and belief.

1) A willingness to listen

When starting to trade outside of your home market, listening to your new potential customers is hugely important. What do they want? Is it different from what you think they want? Sometimes this can be difficult, particularly for business owners who are so close to their product they cannot believe that everyone they meet doesn't want to hear about its life-changing qualities.

Listening (and getting feedback) happens best when you are face to face with your customer, which is why all we place a huge importance on getting out to market, with regular visits and exhibits at trade shows as well as making overseas visits to customers, either solo or with a UKTI delegation. 'You can't do export from your armchair.'

2) An innovative approach

Independent research shows us that companies who export are more innovative than non-exporters. A successful exporter will be innovative in the broadest sense of the word - this will be a hallmark of the way they approach business generally.

Innovation is a thread which runs through the centre of a good export business. It can and does include such areas as your online presence (is it international? Why not use video to showcase yourselves?), your social media strategy (how will you drive up followers?), and how you plan to tackle the challenges that operating in different languages and cultures brings (have you thought about hiring international students?).

3) An opportunistic outlook

A wide-ranging approach to networking, building contacts and 'getting your message out there' can be very effective – and needn't cost anything.

4) Perseverance

Tori emphasises the need to 'keep pushing and follow up on everything'. Keep your name centre stage. Follow up on every business card. Drip feed information to your contacts: new product launches, when and where you're exhibiting, media successes. You just never know when that contact will turn into a customer.

5) Belief

Knowing that you have a good product that you believe in will give you the courage and tenacity to continue.

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