Tuesday, 14 Feb 2012
Managing Overseas Business Risk Checklist
The majority of UK business successfully trade overseas with no major issues and in all types of markets including those where certain business risks may be present.
However, if you do face risks, understanding and effectively managing them is key to enable you to succeed safely - and can give you a competitive advantage.
These risks can vary from market to market, but here are 10 basic points, and links to lots of free information, to help you succeed.
Take care of your money
1. Do your due diligence.
Before entering in to partnership or doing deals, we strongly advise that you carry out your own due diligence checks and seek independent legal and professional advice. UKTIcan use its market knowledge to provide you with the local contacts in overseas markets who can provide this service.
2. Reduce your financial risks.
If you are trading in a foreign currency, you should consider protecting yourself against changes in the exchange rate.
3. Look in to insurance options.
There are several products and services to consider, such as a partnership with a credit insurer, individual polices per deal, and managed credit insurance. The British Chambers of Commerce, the Association of British Insurers and others, have lists of companies that can help, and, UK Export Finance may also be able to insure you against non-payment or by sharing credit risks with banks.
Plan and protect
4. Travel safely and ensure personnel security.
If you, or your staff, are travelling overseas, FCO travel advice can give you useful information on issues including personal security, local laws and customs, entry requirements and health. And if you are managing others you should ensure you have systems and procedures to manage the risks of staff or contractors using legitimate access for unauthorised purposes .
5. Put in place measures to protect your assets.
Your company’s intellectual property may be its most valuable asset, protect it! There are many simple, cost effective ways of protecting your ideas available. Protecting physical assets overseas– such as buildings, contents, and equipment - is important too, and free advice on how to do so is available through the Overseas Business Risk service.
6. Be cyber-secure.
The threat to business security from cyber attacks is real and growing. Via the Overseas Business Risk pages you can access a range of freely available informationon online safety and the measures you can take to defend against electronic attack, instill good practice processes, improve process control and system security and get safe online.
Know before you go
7. Make sure you know the business rules and the business culture.
Every market is different, and has its own rules and regulations, its ways of working, and its do’s and don’ts. UK Trade & Investment provides free online ‘Doing Business’ guides for over 90 individual countries.
8. Be aware of the latest political and economic developments.
Being on top of the latest developments in a fast changing world has never been more important. A range of freely available news and other sources can offer you timely insights, and the FCO political and economic updates service provides authoritative UK Government insights on key emerging markets.
9. Understand if there are threats of bribery and corruption, terrorism, and organised crime.
These can vary significantly from market to market, and the steps you need to take to help avoid them will be different wherever you go. The Overseas Business Risk Service provides information on threats in 95 markets, plus a treasure trove of links to The Bribery Act, advice from the FCO and other Government bodies, and support from international organisations such as the OECD .
10. Do you need an export license for your goods?
There are several reasons why governments aim to control the export of goods, depending on the nature and destinations of the proposed export. The export of strategic goods and technology is the specific remit of the Export Control Organisation (ECO) with BIS. Clear guidance on export licences is available from the ECO.
And finally …
11. Seek professional help!
There is a wide range of support services that exist to help UK exporters and would-be exporters to tackle virtually all of the issues and challenges which they are likely to face. UKTI is the Government Department that helps UK-based companies succeed in global markets. It can provide you with a range of unique services and links and access to many other organisations.
UKTI/FCO Overseas Business Risk
UK Trade & Investment and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) bring together authoritative, accessible and topical information online, on countries, and the key issues related to the political, economic and business security environments.
This can help you identify these risks, understand more about them – and guard effectively against them. By helping you manage the risks of doing business overseas and go with your eyes open, it can help you succeed…safely