Star Rotherham exporters share business secrets

THREE of Rotherham's leading exporters told businesses to do their research, focus on a key market and seek expert advice as they shared the secrets of their international success.

The free breakfast event held at Fusion@Magna, Templeborough, today was organised by UKTI, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and Rotherham Investment & Development Office (RIDO).

It saw business leaders from Pyronix, Gala Tents and Newburgh Precision encourage other companies to get involved in overseas trade to drive their growth.

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The event also saw the launch of Five Steps To Export: Not Difficult, Just Different, a new step-by-step guide by UKTI for businesses in Yorkshire looking to export their goods or services.

Founder of Gala Tents, Jason Mace, told guests how his business was created in 1999 when he searched for a marquee for a Millennium party. 

Unable to rent one, he bought his own from China. Since then he's never looked back and now buys and sells 15,000 marquees and gazebos a year, turning over more than £10 million.

He said: "Start simple. We began in Ireland and developed a model for exporting. Do the research and check if the country wants your product. Once you've decided on a target, stick with it and don't be tempted to try multiple destinations at once.

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"Once you've established a successful system for international trade — expand. I'd say to every business that they should try exporting, it is worth it. Without exports, your business won't expand."

Security systems manufacturer Pyronix has enjoyed average annual growth of between ten to fifteen per cent thanks to international trade.

Commercial director Colin Beresford said research, a focused strategy and a local feel was critical to that success.

He explained: "You have to do your homework. Make sure you understand both the rules and regulations for the country and specifically those for your product or service. There are always many layers to the onion in each country that go beyond international standards. 

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"While we could operate in many markets, we don't. It's far better to invest and commit resources to one strategic market. You will get much more out of that market and will get a firm foothold for further development."

Advanced manufacturer Newburgh Precision saw great success overseas by following existing customers but is now working to target new markets and sectors abroad. 

Managing director David Greenan said: "We've got some great skills in the business but the challenge we face is knowing which countries to target, what markets to go for and who the customers are. You need local knowledge for that and that's where the UKTI and expert advisors come in."

To get a copy of the exporting guide Five Steps To Export: Not Difficult, Just Different, contact Sue Roberts at UKTI via [email protected].