#BIGFB Google+ Hangout: your export questions answered

Find out what happened when we hung out with Richard Reed from Innocent Drinks. Plus, read responses to the export questions we didn’t get chance to ask on the day…

Exciting times. Last week, we celebrated the British Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Exporting is Good for Britain event with our first live video ‘Hangout’ through Google+. Even more excitingly, we were joined by Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Drinks and star of BBC programme Be Your Own Boss.

Richard was helped out on the day by Mike Spicer, Senior Policy Advisor at the British Chambers of Commerce, and inspiring young entrepreneur Jacob Hill, founder of festival camping business The Lazy Camper. In case you missed it, you can watch the whole Hangout here.

Now, sadly it wasn’t possible to get through all you questions on the day. So we caught up with world-conquering businesswoman, Polly Marsh, from innovative baby products business, Cuddledry, to get answers to your most pressing concerns.

Q: Polly, you’re selling your business Cuddledry all over the world (with great success). Are there any markets that you are yet to crack and what challenges do these markets pose? Victoria, Twitter

A: Wow Victoria – big question! We’re currently selling Cuddledry in over 40 countries but there are certainly many areas of the world that we’re not yet selling to – including North America, Canada, South America and India.

Closer to home, European focus is on supporting agents and distributors with more marketing. The aim is to ultimately drive sales. However, this is a challenge. Because of the number of languages involved, everything needs to be translated for international audiences. We also have to think about packaging – does it translate? Is an image that’s suitable in one country suitable in another?

Further afield, Cuddledry isn’t recognised to the same extent. The challenge is finding the right partner – whether it be a distributor, an agent or a direct retailer. We also have an added challenge: as a small company, our resources our limited. So, getting the right partner who believes in our products and is as committed to the brand as we are is critical to our success.

And lastly, Intellectual Property (IP) is vital. Registering IP globally from the start is obviously the best way to go. But the cost of this can be well out of reach for most new start ups. So it’s a balance of risk versus cost and working out which takes priority in each nation.

Q: Hi Polly – I’m a mum who has just started designing children’s clothes. I’m thinking about turning it into a business. What advice would you give other mums like me who are thinking of getting started in business? Jane, DHL Guide blog.

A: Hi Jane.  Firstly, do your market research. Make sure that everyone else thinks that your idea is brilliant too. Check that there is a place for it in your chosen market. Remember: starting up a business will take longer than you think. Make sure you have support from friends and family. And make sure there’s somebody around to help you with childcare – it often seems to become an issue just as some unmissable opportunity springs up!

Thanks to everyone who took part in our first ever Hangout. Make sure you follow us on Google+ to find out about all our upcoming events.

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