Membership Support Executive, Amanda Hutchison, works hard at Surrey Chambers of Commerce, supporting Surrey businesses with all their export enquiries. Amanda took time out of her busy schedule to tell us more about her work, and how Surrey Chambers of Commerce can help your business on the road to export success…
I’ve been working at Surrey Chambers as a membership support executive for about 6 years now. I don’t have a history of working in export, so I’ve been lucky to fall into such an interesting and varied job. Even after 6 years, I still feel like I’m learning something new every day.
Being able to help people is definitely the best part of my job. Exporters come to me when they’re at the end of their tether, really pulling their hair out. Dealing with a new country can be pretty daunting when you don’t even know the language. We spend time reassuring them and helping them understand that exporting isn’t as complicated as it seems. I think they’re really grateful to have us on hand.
Who do we help with export issues? It ranges from the one-man band down the road, to huge multinationals. There’s no typical company – large or small, you’ll get first-class support from Surrey Chambers.
Export documentation is probably the thing we get most enquiries about. We stamp it here and, if necessary, send it to the appropriate embassy on their behalf. That said, the range of enquiries we deal with is really broad. Things sometimes crop up that I don’t know the answer to off the top of my head. But we always find the information the business needs in the end – whether by searching ourselves or sourcing it from an expert who knows.
The main challenges exporters face at the moment range from the usual payment issues and problems with letters of credit to all kinds of problems thrown up by crises in North Africa and the Middle East. Struggling to get goods in the country, not getting paid, banks closing down – things the Libya situation have had a big impact on our members. We’re liaising closely with the Arab British Chamber to update members with the latest information as and when it comes in.
If you’re involved in international trade, however big or small your business, the most important thing to remember is we’re always here to help. If we don’t know the answer right away we’ll find somebody who does. The advice is free so there’s really no need to struggle on your own. Just give us a call!