Demand for help in exploring export markets has put a South West trade company on course for a record year.
International Trade Matters, founded by Linda Middleton-Jones in 2017, helps around 40 firms every month through a mixture of strategic advice and tactical training.
This has placed her Devon-based business on target to increase sales by 25% to align with the firm’s national rollout of its Global Trade Blueprint (GTB).
Predicated on the principles of ‘Lean and Sensemaking’, the implementation tool has been recognised as a gamechanger for companies wanting to compete in volatile and uncertain trading environments.
GTB delivers a readiness tool for business recovery, growth, and internationalisation. It gives companies the opportunity to explore and unlock potential by accessing unrivalled market intelligence to create building blocks that consider global volatility and different trading nuances.
“There was a major gap in international support between what the Chambers of Commerce provide and what the Department for Business & Trade delivers, that’s where International Trade Matters comes into its own,” explained Linda Middleton-Jones, who was named Most Influential Woman in Multi-Sector Commerce last year.
“We have built up our compliance specialisms to include IP, sector strengths in marine, automotive, and aerospace and in developing new market entry strategies – all fine-tuned into the new Global Trade Blueprint that supports businesses at any stage of their export journey.”
GTB is a four-week course that will take place online on Wednesday mornings (between 9 am to 12.30 pm), allowing management teams to stay connected with their business with background work to be completed between sessions.
The sessions develop a framework tool that ensures success in overseas markets by reducing risk. Delegates will clarify their capacity, competency, and capability to meet the quality, cost, and delivery requirements in overseas markets before delivering a deep dive into the right markets for their products and services.
They will also learn about their own leadership signatures, attitudes, and biases before providing a means to encourage, retain and sustain high performing teams.
Linda went on to add: “The next cohort is scheduled for September 13th, with places for four firms to take part. This will be followed by a further three cohorts over the next few months.”
Bookings are now being taken for the September, October, and November cohorts, where up to eight directors are guided through the complex maze of life after Brexit, including the main failure modes, negotiations, global issues, and supply chain resilience.
More than 100 businesses have already gone through the Global Trade Blueprint and received assistance with understanding threats, compliance, distribution channels, and emerging markets – now and in the future.
Chris Walker, CEO of Diamond Hard Surfaces, benefitted from the course.
“We found that GTB was a very valuable and useful process, whether applied to our business in general or specifically when used to drive growth in international trade.
‘The sensemaking aspect was a real benefit to understanding where we are now, and this helped develop a clear visual map that gave structure to the unknown. Working in a cohort means we were able to stress test our plans and receive constructive feedback in the process.”
Linda, who was also the architect behind the South West Manufacturing Advisory Service’s National Manufacturing Barometer, concluded: “There’s definitely a demand for independent specialist export assistance, so much so that we are seeing a significant increase in companies requesting our services.
“We are linking the principles of Lean into Export allowing companies to build on their competitive edge and visibility in overseas markets.”
“The UK’s reputation for manufacturing design, innovation, and new technology is still firmly in place and, despite all of the challenges and additional hurdles we have to contend with, international trade still remains a fantastic way to grow your business.”
Linda’s experience in international trade has seen her deliver two keynote speeches in Milton Keynes and Belfast, with her next ‘Lean into Export’ talk to be given at the Glasgow Manufacturing & Supply Chain Conference on October 25th.