It’s export week and the Department of UK Trade & Investment is ready to help British businesses go global.

International trade is a great way to increase sales and revenue and can help your business to enhance its prestige.

It’s important to do your homework before deciding to export, so here’s a list of five things to consider before you take your business to sunnier shores.

1. Distance

A lot of things – not least your sales cycle – will slow down with export, the degree of slowdown will be dictated by how far away your export market is. Australia – for example – might seem idyllic, but the time difference, travel costs, and logistical difficulties involved in working in that market must be factored in. With all that in mind, Ireland and France might be more enticing.

2. Language

Business – like many things – can get lost in translation. Take language seriously when considering export. If senior people in your business are fluent in a specific language you should consider taking advantage of this. Of course there are some pretty large markets out there that use English as their first language.

3. Rule of law and stranglehold of regulation

Here in the UK we too often take for granted the stability of our own society and the firm rule of law. If you have a contract here, you can be confident a court will uphold your rights. The same is not true elsewhere and you should consult regional legal expertise before making big decisions. At the same time, make yourself aware of the regulatory environment you’ll be entering before deciding where to export.

4. Competition

Fans of the Apprentice will have cringed at this year’s final when Roisin – a favourite for victory – saw her business plan taken apart because she hadn’t identified a key competitor. When exporting it’s not always easy to know if you’re the first, second or fiftieth into the market. Do your research, find out who else is selling to your audience, how they’re different, and how well they’re doing. Learn from their mistakes.

5. Addressable market

Saving the most important point till last. You might love the idea of opening an office in Germany, Brazil or Malaysia, but there’s little point in doing it if no one there wants your product. Some businesses – like clothing retailers – are obviously tied to specific parts of the world (try selling fleeces in LA), others may have more subtle connections. Is your business solving a problem that exists in overseas markets? If so where is that problem biggest? Export is all about reaching new audiences, so make sure that you go wherever there’s an audience for you to reach.

Exporting is easier with MarketInvoice, to find out how, download our PDF.