Top export tips from Queen’s Award winner

Don’t be afraid of selling abroad even if you’ve never attempted it before. Plenty of help is available for newcomers. And there are easy options for firms wishing to get on the export ladder but patience is a virtue.

These are the key tips from one of the UK’s most successful overseas operators which has just won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade after driving up exports by 43 per cent in value over the past three years.

Celebrating its 140th anniversary, James Heal could be described as an exporter’s exporter. With a 40 year track record in international trade, the business which manufactures fabric and garment testing instruments and complementary test materials, sells 95 per cent of its products overseas.

The company supplies textile producers worldwide and also offers an international maintenance and third-party accredited calibration service for testing instruments.

Its key markets are leading textile production countries such as China, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan as well as Turkey, Germany, France and Italy.

Managing Director David Repper (pictured) says there is still export growth in places like China and India with increased business on the cards. To keep ahead of the game the firm is constantly introducing new products and services.

“I don’t think we’ve reached a peak,” he says. “We still expect to grow although at a more steady rate but we’re not unhappy about that. Apart from what the markets are doing, we’re subject to global, economic, social and political issues.”

Although often complex, Mr Repper urges UK businesses not to be frightened about embarking on an export campaign.