An export in international trade is a good produced in one country that is sold into another country or a service provided in one country for a national or resident of another country. The seller of such goods or the service provider is an exporter; the foreign buyer is an importer.
Expanding overseas can play a critical role in the prosperity of many mid-market companies, so it’s no surprise that 37% of businesses expect to increase exporting in the coming year.
And if companies are not considering overseas growth, they can be sure their competitors will be.
Breaking New Ground
One company that is already looking at exporting well beyond Europe’s shores is Norfolk-based Centurion, which has been making protective head gear, including helmets and face screens, since the nineteenth century. To safeguard its future, Chief Executive Officer Jeff Ward led the business through a total rebranding and restructure when he joined three years ago.
Despite being one of the leading players in its sector, Ward says Centurion lacked visibility and definition in the market. “We were too vague about our identity, about what made us stand out from our competitors. Starting from scratch and looking at every aspect of our business helped us focus our attention on who we were and on our goals – the most vital of which was expanding overseas.”
Achieving Overseas Growth
Ward worked with our advisers on several aspects of Centurion’s restart, including raising its profile locally, optimising its R&D tax relief and, more recently, overseas growth.
Over the past year, its international sales have grown by 30% – from £6 million to £9 million – and Ward expects this to continue in 2019, mainly in the Middle East and the United States, where the company has a new partnership.
Repositioning itself in both the domestic and international marketplace was key to Centurion’s recent growth. “Exposure, perception and connections are vital when you are trying to expand,” says Ward. “Grant Thornton elevated our profile, initially on a local level by showcasing our company and its success as one of the top 100 businesses in Norfolk, and then by advising on our overseas growth.
These are still early days, but I’m happy with the opportunities that are opening up. I’m excited about the partnerships we’ve established and hope that more will follow this year.”