January is traditionally the time to set out your good intentions for the coming year. So what better time to make plans to drive forward the success of your business during 2013?
With business confidence at its strongest level since the economy came out of the initial recession in 2009 (Business in Britain Report, Lloyds TSB Commercial) and a prediction that UK firms are set to benefit from the growth of emerging markets (Global Connections Report, HSBC), business leaders would do well to start thinking of how to benefit from this positive economic shift.
At Comtec our focus is on helping companies to communicate effectively in order to do business around the world. And we have devised our top five New Year’s resolutions to help your company get ahead in 2013.
1. Target a New Market!
There are potential customers all around the world! And the benefits of seeking out overseas customers are endless. In fact, companies which export are more productive than non-exporters, perform better financially and are more likely to stay in business. For companies new to exporting, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is a great place to start.
Even if you already export and are an expert at the dos and don’ts of exporting, there are always new markets to consider. A recent report claimed that the UK was set to benefit from emerging market development and experience a boost in trade activity, with Vietnam, Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey, Mexico and Poland named in particular as rapid growth markets. To help UK companies make the most of new trade opportunities such as these UKTI has launched a programme of Export Insight Visits, offering ‘new to export’ companies the chance to visit a new market for just £99 + VAT. Visit www.embltd.co.uk/ukti for full details.
2. Set up a microsite in a different language
Wherever your customers are it is important to communicate effectively with them. Research shows that customers are more likely to buy from websites in their own language (www.idc.com) and also likely to pay more for goods if they are able to buy them in their own language (Common Sense Advisory). So if you are considering selling overseas it is well worth looking into website and marketing translations.
With this in mind, you may like to consider setting up a landing page or micro site for your company in one or more languages. This is a highly cost-effective option to test your new markets and increase your web presence. The site can include key facts about your products or services with a form to request more information. Based on its performance, you can then make an informed decision about whether to translate your complete website into the language of your target market.
3. Find out what language skills you already have in your team
You may be surprised to find a number of linguists in your team! Complete an audit to find which language skills are available amongst your staff. Even dormant language skills can be developed quickly and focused for business. A member of staff doesn’t have to be fluent. A little goes a long way in at least facilitating initial contact with a market. Just a point here though, it is crucial to use a professional, native speaker to translate marketing and technical material to ensure complete accuracy and 100% quality.
Businesses can no longer stand still. Those that do will be left behind. Especially in today’s globalised marketplace, the companies that are best placed to get ahead are those which are able to respond quickly to demand, driven in part by their innovative thinking. A great deal of research shows that innovative companies are faster growing, deliver higher returns on investment, are better at responding to changing circumstances and are more able to find solutions to global challenges. With UK businesses having the distinct advantage of access to excellent universities and research institutions, there is no reason not to innovate in 2013.
5. Boost Your Social Media Presence
Do not underestimate the importance of social media in reaching more customers. Social networking reaches an incredible 82% of the world’s population, representing 1.2 billion users around the globe (comScore). And there is no denying the influence it has on potential customers. In fact, social media has made such as impact in China that Chinese consumers say they are more likely to consider buying a product if they see it mentioned on a social media site.
For companies new to social networking the whole thing can seem a bit daunting – but the ones that put in the effort are the ones that will really reap the benefits of the social media boom in the coming years.
So if you’ve previously played it safe when it comes to selecting an export market, or have made a success of your previous international expansion plans, 2013 could be the right time to look further afield. Who knows where it could take your business?
Comtec supports businesses with their international expansion plans by providing a full range of language translation and localisation services, including website translation, technical translation, marketing translation, legal translation, software localisation and interpreting.