Founded in 1998, Discovery Design is a cutting-edge digital firm specialising in tailored website design, Google Ads management, and marketing/communications support.
Run by directors James Addison and Sarah Parker, the company has experienced significant growth and plans to expand further.
Discovery Design turned to Department for International Trade North East for support when it set its sights on breaking into international markets.
We spoke to managing director, James Addison, about his experience of attending a Trade Mission to Ireland with Department for International Trade North East.
1. When did you decide you wanted to explore trading opportunities in international markets?
We were motivated by the chance to work with new and innovative companies. It gives us the chance to try different things and evolve the business by working with a range of different clients in new, emerging markets.
We provide a service that is relatively straightforward to export and we were keen to match the success we’ve had in the UK.
2. Where did you go for advice and guidance?
It was something we spoke about internally before seeking out any advice but Department for International Trade North East actually contacted us directly about some of its upcoming Trade Missions.
They were really supportive from the outset and the whole team was on hand to provide advice and guidance.
3. Did you know about Department for International Trade North East and the support it could provide?
Before they got in contact we didn’t know about the advice and support Department for International Trade North East could provide businesses looking to export. They really helped us push forward with our plans.
We were concerned if we actively explored expanding abroad, we would need to invest a lot of time with potentially little return. Department for International Trade North East helped us overcome that.
4. Based on your experience, can you dispel any myths businesses might have about attending a Trade Mission?
A lot of businesses might not think they’re large enough to export but attending a Trade Mission really opened our eyes to the fact size doesn’t matter.
We don’t need to be a big company to serve businesses outside the UK; overseas companies are interested in what we have to offer.
Before we attended the Trade Mission we didn’t know what to expect but it was fantastic to see businesses engaged in what we had to offer.
5. Did your attendance on a Trade Mission lead to new business enquiries?
Since coming back from the Trade Mission we’ve been following up lots of new leads. We actually secured a new client in the Netherlands after an introduction from another business that joined us on the mission.
It was really useful to build relationships with potential clients in Ireland and the other UK businesses that joined us. There were a lot of likeminded people and everyone was open to sharing ideas. It really showed us the scope of what we could achieve.
6. Would you encourage other North East businesses to attend a future Trade Mission?
Absolutely. It gave us the confidence to explore export opportunities, which we didn’t have before.
The other piece of advice I’d give is exporting isn’t as difficult as you think. If you have a quality product or service, people will be interested in doing business with you. If you have the potential to help a business grow, people will want a conversation.
We also focus less on the size of the business but more on what they’re looking to achieve. Smaller businesses often work more collaboratively and that delivers results.
For more help and advice on exporting, including attending Trade Missions, explore more of the Export Toolkit.