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INTERNATIONAL TRADE TOP TIPS FOR FINDING NEW INTERNATIONAL MARKETS


Dr Nik Kotecha OBE Look for the low-hanging fruits “If you have a technical or high-value product like medicine, there’s massive opportunities in markets like the Middle East, Africa and Caribbean, where there’s a demand for high- quality products. You can also move into these markets quickly, whereas in the US or Europe it can take a few years to get a licence to market the product.”


Talk to people “My business was built on travelling and meeting people. I always say ‘touch it, feel it, do it’ – you need to be in that market to understand it before you can sell your product or service. When you visit the country, you see the culture, how the distributor or agent you’re dealing with behaves, and can see where your products are being stored.”


John Siddall


Don’t think of it as exporting “Just think of it as selling, but in another country. This helps you to take the same approach to how you would sell your product domestically, in terms of getting to understand the market and the different types of consumers.”


Be persistent “When we first started to have an interest in the US, we exhibited at trade shows. People said the Americans aren’t going to take you seriously if you just go to one show because they meet so many people at these shows and then never see them again. They expect to see you in year one, two, three, four and five – and sometimes it can take more than that before they eventually take you seriously. So exporting is like a courtship, not a one-night stand.”


current two-hour period. David hopes it could alleviate pressure on A&E departments as paramedics can rapidly diagnose a problem without admitting them to hospital. While the unknowns of Brexit remain a concern, he’s


optimistic for the future, adding: “The pandemic has brought testing to the forefront of people’s minds so there could be more opportunities for us as people recognise how testing can prevent issues before they happen. “But it’s the classic idea that when one door closes,


David Campbell, SureScreen director


another opens. There’s a lot of negativity around Brexit but companies need to adapt and there will be opportunities out there for businesses, particularly for British-made products, so it’s about seizing them.”


DR NIK KOTECHA OBE shares David’s confidence in how far “Brand UK” can travel. His business Morningside Pharmaceuticals is no stranger


to exporting, having manufactured and supplied both generic and branded medicines, as well as other healthcare products, for global distribution since 1991. “In markets like Africa, the Middle East and Caribbean, medicines were coming from the Far East and local manufacturers, but often they were of low quality compared to developed countries,” he says. “But the reputation of the UK for quality goods in other


countries is phenomenal. We’ve built our business around Brand UK as we realised there was a market for high- quality medicines in middle to low-income countries.” Unlike most international traders that will move into


exports after conquering their domestic market, Dr Kotecha started with 100% exports – sending medicines to Commonwealth nations that understood “Brand UK”. It was only later when the UK became the predominant


‘We’ve built our business around Brand UK as we realised there was a market for high-quality medicines in middle to low- income countries’


market and, although exports only now account for 15% of turnover, he attributes this to mastering the domestic logistics operation, with about 90 of its 230 licensed drugs sent to British hospitals and pharmacies twice a day. The export business, driven by a focus on international


aid to developing countries, remains stronger than ever, due in no small part to having some of the most competitive prices. While big pharma will pour huge amounts of money into


R&D to make medicines, once its patent runs out it opens the door to manufacturers like Morningside to make so- called generic versions of the drugs for far cheaper prices.


business network December 2020/January 2021 73 STATESIDE SUCCESS


Like Oasis and Robbie Williams, the ambition of “breaking America” has been a step too far for many successful UK businesses despite pumping in huge sums across the pond. So how exactly does Lutterworth-based db


automation and Premier Bowl Feeders, sister companies in the automation space with no stateside sales presence, manage to make 60% of its turnover in the US? “The machinery we produce has been very well


thought of by our US clients for a long time,” says Nick Parker, managing director of the two companies. “It started with the UK branch of an American


company using our machines and then they’ve returned to us time and again, and brought us new clients through word of mouth. “It’s certainly quite rare for such a high proportion


of our business to come from the US and have no sales presence out there.” Not that Nick is getting complacent, with a plan to


add a service and support arm in the central band of the States sometime in the near future, enabling engineers to carry out on-site installation and maintenance. Premier Bowl Feeders produces feeding solutions


for automation machinery, while db automation manufactures bespoke automation systems for the pharmaceutical, medical and ocular sectors. The two companies – which employ 20 and have


been part of the Suffolk-based PCE Group since 2018 – were named the Leicestershire Business of the Year at the Chamber’s Business Awards last month. This followed a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in international trade earlier this year. Nick believes alliances with other SMEs, and


becoming an incumbent supplier for a multinational, are key for manufacturers to gain exposure to other nations. He adds: “There’s certainly new opportunities opening


up across the world. The EU is convenient because it’s close, but we should be looking far and wide.”


FOCUS FEATURE


Dr Nik Kotecha, Morningside Pharmaceuticals


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