It is easy for the Var who aspires to trade overseas to feel more than a little isolated. The chances are he or she will be dealing in a foreign language, and this can be daunting enough in its own right. However, it is well worth noting that the Department of Trade and Industry does a lot to help anyone wanting to sell their wares overseas.
There are two possible first calls to make. If a Var knows which country they want to trade with, they can go straight to the DTI on its 0171 215 5000 number. If not, call directory enquiries and find out where your nearest Business Link is, if you don't know already - there will shortly be 200 of these in the UK and they advise on all manner of business issues.
The person to ask for is the Export Development Counsellor, who will be a specialist in marketing overseas and whose brief is to offer advice and practical help.
Those who already know which country they want to trade with can go to the DTI as detailed above, and they will be transferred to a desk dedicated to trading with the country in question. This will be manned by people specialising in different things so there may well be a contact whose sole function is to facilitate computer-related trade between you and a target client.
In addition, the DTI employs Export Promoters. Seconded from private enterprise, these are individuals whose job is to scour overseas markets for sales leads in a given area then match the leads to entrepreneurs in the UK who have had the foresight to make themselves known to the department.
Another scheme of note is the Export Intelligence Scheme. This collects sales leads from embassies throughout the world and passes them on to service providers in the UK. There is also a Trade Fair Support Scheme, which helps fund stands at international trade fairs and allows participants three appearances in the same country before pulling the finance away.
And if a Var is not ambitious enough to go out to an international trade show in person, they can take solace from the pamphleting schemes, in which the DTI will take a company's literature and give it out to the interested masses.
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