Exporting for the first time? Here’s our expert ‘get ready’ guide - Go Succeed

Exporting for the first time? Here’s our expert ‘get ready’ guide

July 10, 2024 | Blog | Export, Scale

Exporting for the first time? Here’s our expert ‘get ready’ guide

For those seeking to grow their businesses, expanding their horizons beyond domestic borders can present a pathway to reach new markets and increased sales.

Some of Northern Ireland’s most successful firms, from pharmaceutical giant Almac to dairy producer Dale Farm, are built on the strength of their exports – but embarking on the export journey for the first time can be dauting.

Navigating the complexities of the export process requires careful planning, diligent attention to detail and a clear understanding of the steps involved.

Here, we outline our 8-step ‘get ready’ guide.

  1. Determine what process to follow

Depending on where you are exporting to, and for how long, there are different processes. For example, if moving goods between Northern Ireland and non-EU countries (including Great Britain) you will need an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number. This preliminary stage is instrumental in steering clear of potential obstacles later on.

  1. Check duties, rules and restrictions

Understanding any duties, rules and restrictions that may apply to your goods will help you price them competitively and plan your export strategy effectively. Carrying out research specifically related to your destination country will help you avoid unexpected costs. Depending on the product, you may also need to apply for certain licences.

  1. Decide on declarations and transport

An export declaration will need to be made to HMRC providing detailed information about the goods being exported to facilitate customs processing and compliance verification. Transport will of course, also need to be arranged. In both cases, you can decide to carry out the arrangements yourself or employ an agent to do so on your behalf, which can help ensure timely delivery and minimise transit risks.

  1. Classify your goods

Next, determine the correct commodity code for your goods. The commodity code is used to classify goods for export and import purposes and is necessary for completing customs declarations accurately. Proper classification ensures smooth clearance through customs.  The Government’s Trade Tariff tool will help with this.

  1. Prepare invoice and documentation

Gather all necessary documentation for the export process, including commercial invoices, packing lists, certificates of origin, and any other relevant paperwork. Accurate documentation facilitates customs clearance and smooths the export journey for your goods.

  1. Navigate customs

Depending on the value and nature of your goods, you will need to complete customs declarations. You can choose to handle this process yourself using customs software or enlist the services of a customs agent to assist you. Accurate and timely completion of customs declarations is vital for compliance with regulations.

  1. Keep invoices and records

It is imperative to keep commercial invoices and any customs paperwork. If you’re VAT registered, record the goods in your VAT accounts even if they are zero-rated. If you exported controlled goods, for example, firearms, keep the paperwork that shows who owns the goods. Through record-keeping practices exporters can streamline their operations, mitigate risks and position themselves for success in international trade.

  1. Follow up

After exportation, follow up with the buyer to ensure they have received the goods and are satisfied with the transaction. Address any post-export issues promptly to maintain customer satisfaction and build long-term relationships.

Ready to find out more about exportation, or anything else that you need to help grow your business? Go Succeed is here to help you.

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