“Don’t always look local”: Louis Barnett’s international business advice

At the British Chamber of Commerce 2015 International Trade Conference, 24-year-old entrepreneur and chocolatier Louis Barnett shared how his business has grown over the past year.


Louis became the youngest ever supplier to Waitrose at the age of 13, further supplying Sainsbury’s at age 14 and Selfridges at 15. Louis now supplies his chocolates to Mexico, Poland, Hungary, Australia, Spain and the USA.

At the International Trade Conference last year, Louis had shared an overview of what helped him succeed – including perseverance, business research and planning and understanding how trading with markets beyond the UK can help your business thrive. At this year’s International Trade Conference, Louis gave further tips to entrepreneurs looking for growth:

Business relationships are crucial to success

Building strong relationships with customers, suppliers, partners and advisors is absolutely key if you want to succeed in international trade.

Louis praised the British Chambers of Commerce network for its support and stressed the importance of face-to-face meetings when doing business abroad and reminded the audience that this won’t happen overnight: “It takes time to build relationships.”

Seize networking opportunities

Louis emphasised that at last year’s International Trade Conference he built connections with contacts including Heathrow. Louis now works closely with the organisation and participated in the Heathrow’s expansion campaign, comparing his own expanding business and Heathrow’s freight routes to new markets to support the airport’s growth plans.

Think about how you can innovate and diversify your offering

Since Louis established his brand, he has become renowned for his entrepreneurial spirit and business knowledge. Now Louis supports and advises other companies on going global so he’s not just an exporter of products, but also an exporter of skills.

Make the most of being a British business

As a proud British business owner, Louis advises UK entrepreneurs to “make a noise about being British.” Embrace the Made In Britain label when looking to sell your products overseas as it can be a major selling point in many international markets!

Think big when building your business or brand

Louis highlighted that there’s a wealth of opportunities out there, and immense support: “Sometimes the niche of your product or service can be worlds away. Don’t always look local.”

Louis’ story and advice shows once more how important exporting can be to a business. If you are thinking of taking your business to new markets, our Business Export Advisors will be glad to support you.

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