This is an important, must-read article by Sir John Peace in the Telegraph. Check it out!
Sir John explores the challenges and opportunities in securing a quantum increase in UK exports.
This article should be read in conjunction with the Cole Commission – Interim Report – Turning the dial on UK exports.
John Gelmini and I have been banging on about increasing UK exports for nearly four years.
Here are some of my own thoughts.
Firstly, I think that there needs to be a massive incentive to get increasing numbers of the UK’s young people to experience working and living in foreign countries, together with fiscal stimulus to learn languages to fluency level.
This is based upon my own first-hand experience of doing business in many parts of the world. Time and time again opportunities came my way because of language skills.
Top-quality language tuition is too expensive. It must be both subsidized and streamlined to make it a national skill-set.
Secondly, I think that the UK government needs to focus upon professionalizing selling. Modern marketing is an advanced science, and best practice should be deployed to increase export penetration. Too many UK businesses still try to ‘peddle their wares’ in export markets.
Thirdly, there is a need to focus on key industries, taking a strategic approach, concentrating on the top three sectors.
Fourthly, brands really matter, so we should leverage Britain’s top brands into ‘UK excellence’.
Fifthly, there’s an urgent need to develop a winning strategy for Britain’s SMEs (small medium enterprises). We must explore the barriers to growth, especially exporting and mitigate the risks effectively. Barriers are likely to include financing, securing top-quality, cost-effective professional advice, and fiscal incentives to encourage risk-taking in SMEs.
Sixth, There’s a need to overhaul public sector support for business, especially exporting. In this regard, staffing needs to be from people who have the first-hand-experience and ‘have the t-shirt’ – there are too many skilled older people ‘on the bench’ – similarly, there are young people who have traveled who are under-utilized.