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From small business to global success story

Is international expansion on your to-do list for 2014? Exporting is no longer just for the “big boys” according to Scottish Enterprise. Hundreds of smaller companies are becoming “micromultinationals” and reaching out to new markets. From Brewdog to Harris Tweed, they’re tapping into the growing demand for high-quality Scottish products worldwide.

Turning that dream of being a global company into reality isn’t as hard as many business owners think. Doing business in the rest of Europe or North America can be just as easy as at home. By looking further afield to emerging markets, entrepreneurs can benefit from high growth and relatively low competition.

And while many people are put off by the risk, this is often exaggerated. In fact, by diversifying into more than one market, businesses can spread their risks. Scottish Enterprise quotes the statistic that companies that do export are 11 per cent more likely to survive, and an impressive 34 per cent more productive in their first year.

There’s also lots of help available. Their Knowledge For Growth website is a great place to get started. It’s packed with free resources, such as online tools, reports and case studies. This includes advice on adapting ecommerce sites for global audiences, and tips on choosing markets.They also have plenty of on-the-ground support, with 27 worldwide offices, from Rio de Janeiro to Dubai.

Of the 5,500 Scottish companies that are currently exporting, 97 per cent are smaller companies.

Success stories include BrewDog, which ships its craft beer to 27 countries, including Punk IPA, a bestseller in Sweden. Several renewable energy companies are finding a growing market in Germany, Denmark and other Northern European markets.

On the smaller end of the scale, Totseat, a company with just three staff members, started exporting with the help of the Scottish Enterprise Smart Exporter programme. It now gets almost two-thirds of its revenue from overseas.

Of course some of the challenges include overcoming linguistic and cultural barriers – which is where we can help! Language is a key ingredient when it comes to reaching international audiences.

Whether you’re marketing online or offline, most people prefer to shop using their mother tongue. Our native-speaking translators and marketing experts can help you make the right impression overseas. Get in touch to find out more.

Andrew Campbell, Chief Executive Officer, Lingo24

Andrew Campbell is Chief Executive Officer of Lingo24. He has extensive experience working with IT centric businesses in Edinburgh, London, Singapore and Hong Kong.

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