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Top Tips for Developing International Trading

Developing business internationally can be intimidating at first. Which country should you target? How can you get a firm grasp of this new market? Which legal, administrative and cultural factors are going to impact your business?

On the 18th of August, we invited Mark Bedser from Madgex and Stephen Golding from the Department for International Trade (formerly UK Trade & Investment) to discuss these issues as part of the Wired Sussex Breakfast Workshops. Here are some of their top tips to facilitate your transition to international trade.

Localise your business and look out for details

Maximise the localisation of your online presence. This means translating and adapting the technology you use where and when needed, Mark explains: “More than just the language barrier, it is the cultural aspect that truly challenges successfully establishing yourself abroad.” You need to look beyond a simple copy and pasting of your current marketing strategy. Work closely with translators to get the meaning and the coding of your website right. Think of your SEO ahead; you might want to hire a translator that specialise in SEO services. Even for English-speaking countries, look into adapting the vocabulary you use to your audience. Americans use the word resume for example, not CV.

Think details and invest time to get all aspects of this work right. Immerse yourself into each market’s culture. The more localised you are, the more likely your company is to adapt rapidly to its new market.

Use your current networks to develop your presence abroad

Get your feet through the door using networks. Filter international clients from your current client base and target them as your first leads. One of the major advantages? People with offices abroad already know about cultural differences, which will facilitate your arrival to a new country. Maybe they can even refer you and generate more leads.

When being introduced, think about what level of connections you are looking for and who is introducing you. Stephen Golding suggests getting in touch with the local UK embassy as they can sometimes help you make that first connection, or at least give you an insight in the country’s social norms for networking.

If you don’t have a direct contact, research local trade associations; they might have market databases you can access. It’s all about networking.

Anticipate on legal difficulties

Last but not least, give yourself a solid administrative ground before making the big move. Invest time and money to get legal advice and administrative help at the start of the process. Fixing legal issues often results in long administrative battles which could prove damaging – or even deadly - for your business.

Regulations can be difficult; be aware that even online trade is subject to paperwork. VAT rules vary depending on the product and service you offer. The best move for your business is to get help before entering a market to anticipate on administrative faux-pas.

If your client base naturally expanded to new markets rather than you initiating exporting to new countries, look into legal requirements as soon as you notice it. There might be a new window opening for your business there, register and set your business status in the country to keep it open.

When necessary, get legal advice from qualified companies. Don’t know where to start? The DIT can direct you to specialist lawyers. Overseas, look into the equivalent of the DIT. Every country is likely to have a governmental institution specialising in getting new trade involved in their economy. They are very competitive and will be able to put you in the right directions in terms of legal requirements.
Get as much information and support as you can from the start to network, develop your profile abroad and secure a solid administrative status.

Wired Sussex can also help and put you in touch with the talents you might need to develop your business, so please feel free to drop us an email at

More about the speakers:

Mark Bedser is a Director and Co-Founder of Madgex, a Brighton based software company that has grown into the UK’s market leader in the provision of job board services to a blue chip client list that includes: The Guardian, Reed Business Information, Washington Post, TMDR, Centaur and Haymarket. They run job boards in 14 different countries, in 10 different languages and have offices in: Brighton UK, Toronto and Berlin.

Stephen Golding runs a team of International Trade Advisers for the DIT, the government organisation that supports UK businesses to export their goods and services. He is also the South East regional champion for the organisation’s E-Exporting programme and works with companies across Sussex helping them to export via online channels.

This conversation took part as part of one of our Wired Breakfast Sessions. They are fortnightly events taking place on Thursdays from 9.00am – 11.00am at The FuseBox. These events are designed to be very practical and to give you access to expertise and knowledge that will help you and your business.

Our next sessions will focus on being a successful freelancer (1st September) and winning work from the public sector (15th September).

If you have any questions about attending or would be interested in speaking at one of our Breakfast Sessions, please do not hesitate to get in touch at

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