The Beatles, Liverpool F.C. and Cilla Black are the best things ever to come out of Liverpool, according to locals
Santander UK research highlights importance of international trade to North West companies – 50% currently trade internationally and 87% of these say it is critical to business
North West companies reveal what it takes to make it overseas, including top tips for international success
Liverpool-based Algeos shares its experience of taking its business international
The Beatles, Liverpool Football Club and Cilla Black have topped the list of the best things ever to come out of Liverpool, according to local residents.
In new research by Santander UK1, residents local to Liverpool have named the top ten things to come out of the city as:
- The Beatles
- Liverpool FC
- Cilla Black
- Jodie Comer
- Lending libraries
- Daniel Craig
- Chris Boardman
- Football nets
- Wayne Rooney
Many of these things have put Liverpool on the global map, being well known, well used and much-loved in countries spanning the globe. Just as people from Liverpool are proud of their city’s greatest exports, Brits throughout the UK are pleased with what the nation has given the world. Santander UK’s research2 has found that 82% of Brits think some of the best things in the world have originated in Britain.
As well as being a source of pride, British exports play a significant role in the day-to-day success of UK companies. Santander UK’s research3 shows that many businesses in Liverpool and the wider North West region see international trade as vital. In the North West, 50% of companies surveyed currently trade internationally, and 87% of these said it was critical to their business. The most-cited countries they trade in are France (46%), Germany (43%) and the USA (37%). But international success doesn’t happen by chance.
John Carroll, Head of International and Transactional Banking, Santander UK said:
“A lot of research, hard work, perseverance, and adaptation go into transforming home-grown British goods and services into exports that resonate with consumers abroad and take off internationally. It also pays to have the right contacts in place – be they in-country retailers or distributors – to make sure UK-produced products and services have visibility overseas and get into the hands of buyers quickly and efficiently.”
The most common adaptations and measures North West businesses have undertaken to ensure their success overseas are:
- Introduced new products or services (34%).
- Changed the pricing structure (31%).
- Offered more products or services (31%).
- Hired local staff (29%).
It isn’t all plain sailing, as local businesses have worked hard to overcome the common challenges of shipping and transport costs (39%), shipping and transport rules and regulations (39%), and language barriers (31%).
Of the North West companies that don’t currently trade overseas, the reasons behind this are the beliefs that their product or service is unsuitable for an overseas market (28%), their business is too small (26%) and they don’t have sufficient local market knowledge outside the UK (21%). Despite this, 51% of these businesses aspire to take their products and services overseas in future. However, only 16% have a plan in place to make this happen. They say less red tape (26%), grants (21%), and market intelligence on their sector in various countries (19%) would encourage them to take their business international.
A significant proportion of North West companies are positive about trading abroad, with 65% agreeing ‘the future is bright for British business operating internationally’. Contributing to this optimism are their beliefs that consumers supporting British businesses more (48%), Brexit has provided more opportunities (45%), and there is now freedom from EU regulation (38%).
Santander UK’s research has also revealed North West business owners’ and decision makers’ top tips for international trade success:
- Make sure there is a market for your product or service before you start (36%).
- Ensure your UK business is doing well first (34%).
- Invest in obtaining market intelligence on your sector in the country you want to trade in (29%).
- Don’t take too big a risk to start with (23%).
- Invest in advertising, marketing, social media to suit the local market (21%).
Algeos is a homegrown Liverpool company that manufactures and distributes medical devices and technology solutions to healthcare providers all over the world. The business dates back to the 1880s, starting out as a leather merchant and grindery supplies company in the heart of Liverpool, and evolving in the 1990s into its present business focused on podiatry, orthotics, prosthetics and physiotherapy with a factory and headquarters in Speke. From the early 2000s, the business went global, opening a satellite operation in Australia, later expanding its presence in the US and Middle East. Algeos now sells to over 50 countries every year.
Algeos Managing Director Max Sheridan said:
“Originally we were inspired to take the business international through our love of foreign travel as well as wanting to find opportunities to reduce our dependence on home trade. Our first step was to attend exhibitions and trade shows that gave us leads and indications of opportunities abroad.
“We followed this up with fact-finding research into potential overseas markets and distributors, eventually deciding to focus on markets with similar healthcare issues and care pathways as the UK. Among our biggest considerations in trading overseas has been the varying compliance and regulations required to import medical devices into different countries. We’ve also had to amend packaging and reproduce instruction manuals in local languages. We have also supported our distributors with marketing collateral, educational and product training. My advice to UK companies looking to expand internationally is to start by focusing on one target country and not being discouraged by unusual conditions, import regulations and culture differences. We made good use of Santander UK’s expert knowledge, including its international trade portal, to help us expand. Your local chamber of commerce and the Department for International Trade can also offer support and potential funding.”
John Carroll, Head of International and Transactional Banking, Santander UK added:
“It’s clear from the research that international trade can play a crucial role in helping North West businesses to emerge from the pandemic and get back to growth and with the right support and partners, these internationally trading businesses can thrive.”
“Later this year, we will be launching a new online platform, where we will share our years of experience and knowledge in one place to help North West businesses with tailored support to find their way when expanding overseas. We’re here to help these businesses with support that goes beyond banking as they navigate the challenges.”
Santander’s international team has dedicated market specialists that have access to extensive local networks and knowledge around the world, and a long track record of helping businesses implement their international growth strategies. This support ranges from working with them to identify new markets, helping them with shipping and logistics options and organising virtual trade missions to introducing businesses to trusted local partners, potential new customers and vital networks in key destinations. For more information on the international support available, visit: