The Pros and Cons of Exporting to Australia


The success of an export business depends as much on the products it sells as on the markets it relies on. The principle is nothing more than an extension of what happens for any shop on the high street, in the way their revenues are influenced by the fluctuations of our own economy and customer spending power.

When exporting, however, you have the unique privilege of being able to choose your own market and customers. In order to make the most of such privilege, it pays to choose an export market that’s both growing solidly and that’s not already extremely competitive in the sector you’re trying to break into, thus offering decent room for sales and expansion.

Among the top markets to watch for British businesses, today we will cover Australia, which holds some unique opportunities for UK-based companies, not only because of the common language.

As a business owner, the prospect of exporting to a country whose GDP growth never dropped below the 2 percent mark over the last five years is quite mouth-watering. As a British business owner in particular, it will be even more encouraging to know that UK exports to Australia grew by 80 percent since 2007.

But to make the most of such favourable conjuncture you should by no means underestimate the challenges posed by the Australian market.

UK Trade and Investment listed them quite clearly, referring to factors such as the huge distance between Britain and the Australian continent (approximately 24 hours), an 8 to 11-hour time difference as well as the expansiveness of doing business Down Under.

With regards to the distance, there are now very competitively priced services to send everything from containers to parcels and couriers to Australia, so this will be the least worrying factor once you have established a solid presence within the country.

As for the cost of doing business in Australia, the currency exchange rate can be a double-edged sword: the British Pound is currently very strong against the Australian Dollar (AUD) and it’s worth between 1.9 and 2 AUDs – the highest rate since 2009.

This means that you won’t be in a privileged position when exporting to the country, given the low prices Asian companies can afford to keep when selling their products.

So to break into this extremely healthy market you should rely on quality rather than quantity, and offer services that are not easily available elsewhere.

British businesses have the know-how that can take them far in any competitive market worldwide in the transports, energy, IT and e-commerce sectors, and Australia is the ideal place for forward-thinking companies to prosper.

British exports of apparel and clothing accessories grew by 700% between 2009 and 2012, so this should be your main focus if you’re thinking of opening up an e-commerce business selling on the Australian market.

Elsewhere, look for opportunities in the electronic equipment sector as well as exporting car accessories and medical and technical equipment, Australia being a major importer in all of these areas.

Regardless of the sector, you will find all of the advice you need by getting in touch with UKTI, which is the go-to source of advice for British companies who want to succeed Down Under.

3 Ways to Make Yourself Stand Out as a Maths Graduate


pabloIn today’s competitive jobs market, getting a good degree in a maths subject may not be enough to help you land the roles you’re looking for. The fact is, if you’re to get the job of your dreams, you’ll need to find other ways to ensure you stand out as a graduate. Luckily, help is at hand. This brief guide highlights three of the most effective ways to gain a competitive advantage over your peers.

1) Use your time at university wisely

Studying hard and focussing on your maths degree should be your priority when you’re at university. After all, you’ll need the best possible results when you leave if you’re to get the attention of employers. However, there are other opportunities to seize while you’re studying too. For example, you may benefit from taking on additional responsibilities by becoming a student representative or ambassador. This may seem like a world away from your maths studies, but it will help to show employers that you have some of the other important attributes that they may be looking for, like strong communication and leadership skills and the ability to work in a team. Also, take the time to network while you’re at university. By attending events and meetings, and building connections with industry experts online via social media, you may benefit from more opportunities when you leave.

2) Create the perfect CV

As specialist recruitment service provider Stem Graduates notes, snap judgements are often made about CVs. Because employers have so many of these documents to go through, they have to make judgements about candidates quickly. This means the first few sentences must grab employers’ attention for all the right reasons. Your CV should also be concise and no more than two pages long, and it should be well-written and error-free.

In addition, make sure you provide a full academic record, including any relevant results from before your university studies. This could help to set you apart from rival candidates who have similar degree results to you. Your CV should also highlight your practical experience, including details of any extra-curricular activities and paid work that could cast you in a favourable light.

3) Make sure you shine during interviews

Of course, it’s no good creating the perfect CV if you then fail to shine when you reach the interview stage. This is why it’s so important to prepare for every interview thoroughly by rehearsing potential questions. It also helps to ensure you’re in the know when it comes to industry news and developments. By keeping up-to-date with this information, and by showcasing this knowledge during interviews, you can demonstrate to employers that you have commercial awareness and career motivation.

Landing the perfect position as a maths graduate may not be easy, but by following advice like this, you can boost your chances of success.

Getting Rich with the Standard & Poor


If you still haven’t heard this during your life, brace yourself: employees never make as much as their employers. Some people choose to point out the most extreme examples of massive CEO salaries compared to the newly hired janitor. Those are usually skewed figures, but the average CEO still makes 5 times more than his average workers. That’s how pay compensation is designed. The person with the most responsibility and risk exposure gets paid the most. So you’re just going to work really hard until you’re the CEO, right? Statistically speaking, you aren’t.

Without defining any particular company as a pyramid scheme, it’s easy to notice an ever-narrowing structure in all companies. A small group of owners appoints a slightly larger group of managing directors, who work over a larger middle-management group, which is finally over a mass of people executing on trickle-down orders. The money flows up the pyramid and the mundane tasks flow down it. I’m going to play the realist/pessimist when I tell you that you aren’t likely to work your way up beyond middle management in your lifetime. The potential for any one person to become a CEO is on par with gambling, just based on the numbers. Unless you start your own company, you shouldn’t bet on becoming CEO. If you think middle management is a great place to end up, breeze through the heaps of research identifying the wage stagnation over the past decades. Employees aren’t in a position to get ahead in life.

Companies Don’t Invest in Employees

Corporate profits have rebounded since the Recession, yet those haven’t translated into better pay for the average worker. That’s largely due to corporate stock buybacks. Companies would rather buy back their own stock and reinvest in themselves than spend more on employees. Owners and CEO’s are largely paid in stock options and buybacks keep stock values higher. It seems cruel from the employee’s perspective, but if you or I owned a company, we would prefer to use profits as effectively as possible to benefit ourselves. That rarely includes shelling out more to bottom-tier and middle-tier workers. So how can someone who is just an average working stiff get ahead if their wages aren’t going up and they aren’t likely to run the company they work for?

Emulate the Success of Others

You may not be in a position to start your own business or become CEO where you work, but nothing is holding you back from investing. Each of us can find a way to allocate some capital towards investing. You might have to start packing your own lunch or pick up some side work for a while, but you can and should invest. Company owners are the ones getting ahead, and buying stock makes you part owner in the companies you buy.

But then there is the question of which investments. Which stocks should you buy? For starters, everyone should buy into the S&P 500. Standard and Poor’s index of 500 Large-Cap corporations is the bellwether of the US economy. It also happens to be outperforming wage growth by leaps and bounds. What does that mean for the average worker buying into an S&P 500 index fund? It means they can put their money to better use by growing it in an investment than by waiting for their next raise. But most people feel like they are strapped for cash with their stagnant wages. What’s the average person to do?

Here’s my most common suggestion for people who feel they have “no money to invest”. Stop going out to lunch with colleagues because a book told you it’s a great way to schmooze your way to the top. It’s a waste of money. Replace $20 “networking” lunches with $2 sandwiches and veggies each day and you’ll have $90 to invest each work week. Invest that $90 each week in the S&P 500 for 48 work weeks and in one year you’ll have invested over $4,000. The S&P 500 is currently yielding an earnings growth rate of 12.28%. The average wage growth rate is 2%, if you get that raise. Going to lunch with peers or your direct manager every day for one work year will not get you a 12.28% raise. If you have already been bringing your own lunch, take a moment to evaluate your lifestyle. Find the wasted dollars and invest them. Remember, your boss won’t pay you a cent more than he has to for your work. You won’t start winning until you’ve put your money to work in an investment.