Is exporting right for you?

Since the rise of the internet, more businesses than ever before are now trading internationally and exporting is no longer a game for the big players.

Historically, most small businesses would shrug off the idea of exporting, believing it to be an ‘exclusive club for large corporates’.

With the rise of the internet however, thousands of businesses across the UK are now actively selling their products overseas each day ranging from sole traders all the way up to major conglomerates.

If you’ve received interest from overseas and are exploring the opportunity of exporting, the tips below might help you on your way!


There is an abundance of advice out there for businesses looking to start exporting. In fact, there is a whole government department dedicated to helping businesses just like you.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) North East International Trade Team supports all businesses in the North East to develop the export side of their business, no matter how big or small.

The DIT offers business mentors, who will visit you and cover all of the basics of how to start exporting and the challenges it may bring and also hosts a range of trade missions across the globe.

Whether you are interested in having a personal mentor to help grow your business, attending an event with like-minded businesses or attending a trade mission, the DIT is a great place to start.

You can find more information on the DIT here.


As well as the DIT advice service, the UK Government also has a department dedicated to providing finance to help businesses grow exports.

UK Export Finance (UKEF) supports exporters by providing insurance to exporters and guarantees to banks to share the risks of providing export finance.

Its mission is to ensure no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance, while operating at no net cost to the taxpayer.

For more information on UKEF, click here.


If you receive an order from overseas it is always worthwhile checking the legalities of what is and isn’t allowed to be exported to that nation.

Trade embargoes and cultural differences can throw up a series of challenges to businesses selling overseas, from a ban on meat products being imported to Canada all the way through to language barriers when dealing with complaints or queries.

Luckily, there is a lot of support out there for businesses to help them overcome these issues. As an island nation, the UK has always relied upon exports to help boost its economy and the Government has put a lot of infrastructure in place to iron out any problems facing businesses.

The Department for International Trade has a series of free ‘Exporting Guides’ for almost every nation you can think of and they’re all available online.

If you receive an order from overseas and you’re interested in finding out what challenges you may face, you can find out everything you need to know here!


If you’re selling a product rather than a service and are looking at posting your goods overseas, it’s worth pricing up the shipping costs for different nations before offering the option for overseas customers to buy your products.

Your local post office is a great place to start. If you package up a product and jot down the weight and size, they’ll be able to advise you on how much it would cost to ship your product overseas via different couriers.

You may find that Belarus is cheaper than Portugal and Japan is way more expensive than Australia and vice versa. This research will ensure you have the same profit mark-up on every order you distribute and will prevent you from losing money on pricing!

Our top tip: Take a look at our events page and see if there are any upcoming events focused on exporting. Events are a great way to hear from likeminded businesses which are already trading overseas and could help give you the push you need to start trading internationally!