UKTI case study – The Business Performance Group
The Business Performance Group has secured significant US wins six months ahead of schedule, thanks to UKTI matched funding and support. Based in Saffron Walden, Essex, The BP Group is a management consultancy firm that helps companies to win new business and achieve profitable growth.
The company’s initial contact with UKTI came in June 2013, just after a large US company had expressed interest in partnering with the SME and they were exploring what shape that collaboration might take.
As UKTI Trade Adviser Martin Senior explains: “The BP Group didn’t have prior experience of trading overseas and was keen to make sound decisions that would move their business forward, quickly and in the right direction.”
Martin invited the company to register for UKTI’s Passport to Export initiative, which provides new exporters with a programme of support that builds international trade capacity.
“The Passport workshop was excellent,” comments Nick Wilkinson, commercial director at The Business Performance Group. “The trade adviser who ran it was very knowledgeable, and provided a valuable overview of the export process. He tailored the content to meet the specific needs of a diverse range of attendees, from a supplier of Formula One parts to a company that provides lighting for chicken runs.
“As a service company, we were in a slightly unusual position. We didn’t have a product to sell, and we already had an overseas partner by the time the workshop came round. However, it was still a productive experience that provided useful insights into the international marketplace.”
Through the Passport scheme The BP Group also accessed matched funding that helped to subsidise flights and accommodation costs for three key members of staff who visited the US in November.
“As a relatively young business, founded in 2009, we appreciated the opportunity to offset a proportion of our travel costs,” explains Nick.
“Although we would have gone to the US regardless, matched funding made the decision more straight-forward and enabled us to take three members of staff instead of two.”
The company has since signed US contracts worth in excess of $60,000 and expects to more than quadruple its overseas revenue this year. In preparation for further US expansion they commissioned a UKTI Export Communications Review (ECR), to provide guidance on the best way to Americanise their website, while also preparing their marketing literature and branding for entry into Canadian and European markets.
“Taking a service company overseas is complicated,” explains Nick. “Our trade adviser, Martin, has been a very good sounding board as we have addressed the different factors involved.
“For example, tax is a minefield: if we prepare a data file in the UK for use in the US, do we incur tax liabilities in the UK or the US? Martin is always able to put us in touch with specialists who can provide clear guidance and his anecdotes, borne from experience, also help to move us forward.”
“The Business Performance Group is an ideal client for UKTI,” comments Martin. “They want to progress internationally as fast as possible, while asking numerous questions to ensure that they do so with sound knowledge and minimal risk.”
To find out more about UK Trade and Investment services in the East of England contact your local International Trade team: Tel: 0845 641 9955 Email: info [at] uktieast.org.uk Website: www.ukti.gov.uk