Maybe you’re a business-owner thinking about exporting. Perhaps you’ve never considered it, don’t know where to start or are daunted by the prospect.

Since fear didn’t stop you from setting up a business in the first place, why should it prevent you from tapping into a potential market of seven billion people on the planet? That’s considerably more than the 60 million or so in the UK!

If starting the process is what’s holding you back, there’s an excellent resource in the UK to help you decide whether to trade across borders and how to do it – UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).

I was astounded by how much expertise is freely available, and the number of courses you can access (for free or at very reasonable rates). I’d sent UKTI a routine enquiry and was put in touch with UKTI International Trade Adviser Nick Charles from the South East International Trade Team. He came to visit me a few months ago.

Although I don’t speak any European languages, I already have several clients in Europe who use my writing and editing services to make sure their English language communications are error-free and make sense. During my discussions with Nick it became obvious that I was missing a trick in expanding those services abroad.

UKTI export communications

Just some of the information provided by UKTI

He enrolled me in the 12-month Passport to Export programme, and this week I went to my first UKTI masterclass. It was on web optimisation for international markets and turned out to be an informative four hours; ably and engagingly presented by Sarah Collins, MD of Grow Global.

During the break I met several business owners who, like me, wished they’d contacted UKTI earlier. Bruce Williams from Cambridge House Dyslexia Resources put it this way:

“I think it might have been better to have done the session before launching the new website, but with a completed and working site, which I thought I was relatively happy with, there is now a real incentive to get a move on and get some changes done.

“The masterclass gave me a great set of tools to apply to it [the site] that will help me achieve my strategic aims. It would have been great value for money if I had paid for it. As it was free (thank you UKTI) it is really a case of ‘why wouldn’t you?’. The added bonus is being able to network with other like-minded individuals and learn from their web experiences.”

Breaking in to new markets is about conquering your fears, as Kelly Hoppen says in the introduction to the UKTI’s publication, ‘From local to Global: How to expand your business overseas’. With UKTI you get lots of help to break down borders into European and even world markets.

Head to www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/new-markets and make a start.