Why businesses should explore markets outside Europe

In this piece, James Marchant looks at some opportunities small businesses should consider in markets outside of Europe.

Europe’s population amounts to just 10 per cent of the globe. As obvious as it sounds, there’s a whole world of opportunity for businesses to grow. While the development of digital channels, including e-commerce, has brought countries closer together making it easier to reach new customers, it remains important for businesses to find and grow prospects themselves.

What works in one country may not work in another, so conducting thorough research into the markets you’re looking to export to is crucial. In addition, different countries have different rules and regulations so being clued up will be a great help when you begin exporting. Remember this doesn’t just mean looking into the legalities of setting up an office or researching customs regulations but being clued up on business etiquettes and cultures. For example, in Singapore touching your head could cause offence, and could cost you a business deal.

Asia, North America and Australia are considered key continents for businesses looking to export their services and are quickly catching up with Europe as the leading places to do business. At our company we realised the benefits of moving beyond Europe to these markets. Our customers always want to tap into the hottest new experiences and this shouldn’t be limited by geography. New York, Singapore and Sydney are just some of the areas which could lead to new chapters for businesses – they certainly did so for us.

New York – Take a bite of the Big Apple

The city that never sleeps has a population of approximately 8.5million from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds based in a relatively dense area. The metropolitan city is home to strong industries including fashion, financial services and retail. It also boasts an incredibly vibrant restaurant scene – the key reason we launched here last year. The restaurant sector is driving the local economy, contributing $660.5 billion in sales and represents 4 per cent of the United States’ GDP.

New York happens to be one of the strongest centres for innovation in the world, with so many talented people working across different fields. Exporting to New York provides access to this talent pool as well as an energised and collaborative culture.

The United States has an image of being difficult to export to, however with no language barriers and a similar business culture to the UK the opportunities available can be fruitful. In fact, many start-ups across various sectors have achieved significant success after basing themselves here.

Beginning your American journey in New York provides a platform to expand your business across the United States reaching an estimated customer base of 320 million; fuelling the idea if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

Singapore – The perfect blend of East and West

Singapore has a population of over 5.5 million and is home to approximately 30,000 British residents. The country oozes growth potential; its economy is the 36th largest in the world and is a major trading partner in Asia. In fact, it’s been ranked as the easiest place in the world to start a business.

What makes Singapore stand out is its clear multicultural influences from both the East and West – it’s a cultural mecca. As a hub of commerce, its burgeoning expat community has added to its vitality, which your business can take advantage of. While financial services and manufacturing top the list of UK exports to the country, food and drink rank in the top ten – perhaps all those expats are missing great British delicacies.

Singapore is arguably the gateway to the East. In fact, by exporting to this modern cosmopolitan your business can easily access 50 per cent of the worlds’ population, making a great starting point for businesses looking to increase their international foothold.

Sydney – Surf towards new opportunities

Australia has long been seen as having a ‘work hard, play hard’ culture, which certainty shines through in Sydney. With its strong economy, it generates $108 billion each year, and culturally diverse, affluent population it’s no wonder businesses are flocking down under.

Business opportunities in Sydney are attractive, it has a fantastic start-up culture, in fact Australia is the tenth easiest country in which to do business, and has a global outlook. For business looking to increase their international dominance, the city can be used as springboard to export to the rest of Asia Pacific.

Australia has a burgeoning British expat community, with 1.2 million residents and over 600,000 visitors each year, while Australians have a growing appetite for international products, particularly among the food and drink sector. In fact, its vibrant food and drink scene is what attracted us to Sydney in the first place. Other benefits include its language and similar culture, as well as its relaxed, carefree attitude.

Experience something new

Europe offers a chance for businesses to begin their exporting journey, however they should not constrain themselves to just this market. Most of the world’s population lies outside the continent and key cities and countries, such as New York, Sydney and Singapore offer the chance to expand their horizons, access burgeoning economies and reach new customers. There’s a whole world out there, so take the opportunity and grab a slice of it.

James Marchant is co-founder and CEO of Just Opened.

Further reading on exporting

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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