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Going Global... as a Start-up

Tue, 04 March 2014

Contributed by Shell LiveWIRE Winner and The Wild Peanut founder, Akeem Ojuko
Wouldn’t it be great to fly to any country on the planet, come off the plane and speak to someone at the hotel reception who has heard about your product and was bursting with excitement? How amazing would that be? Gone are the days when this dream was impossible if you were a start-up. All you actually need is a voice, and an internet connection.

Let’s start with the facts:
  • 11% of businesses are more likely to survive if they trade overseas, yet only one in five trade overseas
  • After their first year of trading, small businesses which export are 34% more productive than small businesses that do not (UKTI)
In business we live in a world full of clichés, ‘what ifs’, and beliefs that are not necessarily true. One of these beliefs is that you can’t promote or sell your brand overseas until your business is astronomical, or that outside of the UK, the world just ‘wouldn’t understand or want my product just yet’.
Quite the opposite, in fact. The world has changed. 71% of shoppers in Europe now believe they get a better deal online than they do in shops. Selling your product online, with relatively very little investment, can mean selling to overseas customers without having to set up overseas at all. 
Now of course there are common risks you’d need to look into: the delivery options, the currency, the rate, as well as the terms and conditions you need to comply with in the respective country you are selling in. But for sure, the main thing you’d want to know is ‘how can I get my product out there?’ Here are a few ways:
I started my business, The Wild Peanut, last year, and with this being my fourth company, I knew I was entering a competitive category, so the idea of ambassadors immediately sprang to mind when I was thinking of how I could make this more profitable, but also more known to those in countries I could not physically get to. 
What are ambassadors? Well, in short, they are people who ‘champion’ my brand across Europe and the rest of the world. Currently there are 23 Wild Peanut ambassadors across eight different countries, each of them being responsible for a region whereby they can ensure that those in their region know of the product, promote it, and are almost ‘trusted distributors’ in that area. This costs nothing but good faith and great people. We unite, using Skype.
There are hundreds of resources online and off that can help you learn more about exporting. National Export Week starts on the 7th April.  There are also some fantastic bite sized webinars to look at on how you can go from starting up to selling in multiple countries in your first year of trading.  See the Export Bootcamp for more info. 
Besides that, check out organisations such as the Junior Chamber of Commerce for a great opportunity to network with those in the same situation as yourself and be part of a range of national projects. 
And lastly, you can use a very under promoted tool that Google has, whereby you can search keywords based on the how often it is being searched in each respective country. 
In short, forget the clichés and ‘what ifs’ and just say ‘this is the year that I make a giant step towards exporting overseas’.
If you want to talk further on any points, on starting up a business, or if you just want to call one of us to talk about peanut butter, feel free to give us a call on 02076085782, catch us on twitter @wild_peanut.

About Akeem Ojuko (Founder of The Wild Peanut)

Akeem is the founder of The Wild Peanut, a business which offers premium gourmet peanut butter with a unique edge in the choice of flavours and the policy of using no artificial ingredients, and only superfoods, fruits and of course peanuts. They have created a unique blend of ingredients with one of the world's favourite spreads.

Flavours include Apple and Cinnamon, Raspberry, Chilli, Honey and Blueberries, all mixed with healthy peanut butter. The company plans to support the World Wildlife Fund and improve conservation, influence policy and prevent species from extinction by holding free events throughout the year where people can learn more about the planet in a fun and refreshing way. 

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