Whether you work in agriculture, energy or technology, setting up an international business can offer ample opportunities to boost your bottom line.

Expanding overseas can help you access new customers, source a diverse workforce, and find innovative ways to save money. However, no matter how well your business may thrive in the UK, joining a foreign market is an entirely new chess board to navigate.

That’s why it’s essential to consider every detail first, in particular how you will tackle handling your financial responsibilities abroad.

Foreign exchange specialists, Clear Currency, share 10 things to think about before taking your business overseas.

1. How Brexit has affected agricultural trade in the UK

Despite reaching an agreement with the EU, farm owners have expressed concerns that free trade, especially with countries in the South-Pacific region, could cause prices to fall. Abandoning protectionist measures, like tariffs and quotas, could see many family-run farms struggling to compete against international ranches.

In the UK, the agricultural industry remains extremely sensitive to political, environmental and economic factors that can affect support payments and interest rates. It’s vital to consider these influences when considering an expansion abroad to protect your assets and safeguard the future of your business.

2. Agricultural labour shortages

Following the pandemic, there has been a severe shortage of HGV drivers and abattoir workers. In September 2021, the National Farmers Union reported over 500,000 vacancies across the UK food and drink sector.

Eastern Daily Press: Since Brexit and Covid-19, agricultural businesses in the UK have experienced severe labour shortages and had to employ foreign workersSince Brexit and Covid-19, agricultural businesses in the UK have experienced severe labour shortages and had to employ foreign workers (Image: valio84sl)

To ease shortages, the government extended the UK seasonal agricultural workers’ visa scheme for another three years, and allowed 30,000 overseas workers to enter the UK for up to six months to aid harvest (gov.uk, 2020).

The likely result of this is that many agricultural businesses will need to cover wages across many currencies and reassess their payroll system.

3. Bottle-neck supply chains

Covid-19 caused much of the world’s economy to come to a grinding halt. The impact of this has been an increase in demand that has caused many businesses throughout the UK to suffer from order backlogs, delivery delays, supply shortages and rises in transportation costs.

As such, it’s worth checking current import and export standards between the UK and the country your goods are coming from, to keep prices affordable.

4. A call for sustainability and move to smart-farming technologies

Smart farming technology can help farmers increase profits, reduce their carbon footprint and streamline operations.

Artificial intelligence, agricultural robots and the Internet of Things (objects with sensors) capture real-time crop management data such as soil temperature, plant and livestock tracking, as well as predictive crop yields.

It can help those in the industry tackle current labour shortages, increase sustainability and secure finances. It’s worth researching beforehand to see what’s available and plan your budget.

5. The impact of rising living costs

Rising prices for land, food and energy could see UK businesses moving to overseas offices, or looking to access supplies from other countries, to reduce costs.

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Report for 2022 demonstrates an expectation of inflation to rise around 10 per cent in the UK this year, citing Covid, lockdowns in China, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as contributing factors.

It will be important for business owners to consider how current political, global and economic events will affect the UK market and exchange rates when making overseas transactions.

6. New regulations for exporting and importing machinery

New regulations and technology are transforming how machinery is sold and bought across the UK. To compete with larger corporations, SMEs will need to invest in high-quality equipment.

The benefit of buying from another country is that you may be able to access machinery not yet available in the UK and secure supplies at a cheaper price. However, you will need to consider what level of risk you can afford to take on during the purchasing/selling period.

It’s essential to understand how to pay overseas suppliers efficiently and to compare transaction fees between providers to help you get the best deal.

7. The shift to remote working

Covid-19 has seen an increase in the number of people working from home. This has opened the door for companies to source employees from around the world. The benefits of employing overseas workers are that it enables you to cast a wider recruitment net and find the best individuals for the job.

Eastern Daily Press: Using an online payment platform like Clear Currency can make paying remote employees quicker and easierUsing an online payment platform like Clear Currency can make paying remote employees quicker and easier (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

However, if employees are working in their home country, they will need to be paid in their local currency. Using an international payments provider like Clear Currency can make this easier, providing immediate access to highly competitive exchange rates, same-day transfers across major currencies, and a secure payment network.

8. Currency risk exposure

If moving your business abroad, it’s imperative to seek opportunities to protect yourself against currency market volatility and save money when making international payments.

Currencies are traded around the clock, meaning their values change by the second. The value of the British pound against other currencies has, in recent years, been affected by major events like Brexit, Covid-19 and more recently, rising inflation and political unrest.

It's more important than ever for businesses to seek specialist currency services to mitigate this risk.

9. International payment methods

You’ll need to decide which international payment method is best for your business. This will depend on the type of services you provide, how many currencies you need to deal with and how much money is being transferred. Before agreeing to any sale or purchase, research your trade partner’s creditworthiness.

Tailormade, secure online platforms are one of the safest ways to make international payments. Documentary collections and letters of credit often use banks to assist agreements and can be useful to ensure terms and conditions are met.

10. Find the best currency provider

Comparing currency providers can help you access the most competitive rates and ensure there are no hidden fees. Clear Currency offers a simple, fast and convenient way to make the payments you need to keep your business going from strength to strength.

The Clear Currency online platform allows you to pay in multiple currencies all in one place, making it easy to manage all of your transactions. Our currency specialists can help you carry out a full review to establish what risk you can afford during the buying and selling period, and provide guidance around the most suitable currency solution to protect you against unpredictable rates. A dedicated account manager can assist you in planning a proactive hedging strategy to reduce your exposure to currency risk.

Clear Currency is FCA regulated and has a 5* Trustpilot rating.

To find out more about safely moving your money from A to B, visit clearcurrency.co.uk.

Call +44 (0)20 7151 4871 or email edp@clearcurrency.co.uk for more information.