January is often a good time of the year to set new and ambitious goals for your business. So what are the best opportunities for growth in 2018 for British businesses? I would argue that 2018 is probably the best year for UK SMEs to consider exporting to Europe; and notably, its closest neighbour France, as the access to the market is as easy as it's ever been and thanks to new export grants.
Do you remember that just a year ago, in January 2017, the International Trade Secretary declared 2017 as the ‘Year of Exporting’ and encouraged British businesses to seek new markets abroad? It's worth noting that the export trade, notably to Europe, contributes a staggering £511 billion to the UK’s GDP.
A year on, many British SMEs still struggle to find clients abroad and are often unsure as to whether they should trade in Europe given the uncertainty about the future trading relationship with our closest neighbour after Brexit.
In times of uncertainty, the common prevailing wisdom is always to wait and see. However, history tells us time and again that the businesses who proactively seek new opportunities while everyone else stands still are the ones likely to achieve substantial growth and reap large commercial rewards.
In times of uncertainty, the common prevailing wisdom is to wait and see. However those who proactively seek new opportunities while everyone else stands still are more likely to achieve substantial growth.
So why specifically explore the French market, and why now?
We all know that France is the closest and easiest market to access geographically, but we often forget it's also Europe's 2nd largest economy and the 6th in the world.
Overall it is a similar market to the UK with regards to its regulations, and the French economy has proven to be historically resilient and stable. It is less prone to boom and bust cycles and was less affected by the recent recessions than other countries. Because of the market profile similarities between France and the UK, business in demand in the UK is in good standing to find its market in France.
This year is a good time to approach the French market as the current French government is committed to making it easier for foreign businesses to trade in France.
The British government also launched in December 2017 new export grants specifically designed to help British SMEs find clients abroad.
In 2018 many things are aligned to help British SMEs trade in France: ease of access, new export grants, and a desire for foreign investment.
Whether you are looking for clients, resellers or strategic partners to grow your business, France offers a wealth of opportunities across all industry sectors. Don’t let Brexit lead you to think that you shouldn’t consider this huge market.
The real question is: is there a market for your specific products or services in France and if so why leave it to your competitors?
To start answering this question, join Acacia’s 28th February event: 'Growing your business in France' to learn more about sector-specific opportunities in France and available export grants. Book your ticket securely via Eventbrite here.
François Reynier is creative Director at Acacia, a branding and marketing studio working in the UK and Europe.
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