Huffpost UK uk
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Phil Couchman Headshot

Taking Advantage of the Olympic Opportunities This Summer

Posted: Updated:

It can't have passed you by that this summer is set to be a bumper one for the UK. Having experienced the highs of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and the lows of Euro 2012, the Olympics is now just around the corner.

With these momentous events attracting attention from audiences across the globe - UK businesses should make sure they're prepared, both to handle the increase in demand and to maximise the opportunity for ongoing trade from global markets.

With consumer spending expected to increase by £750m and an anticipated 5.3 million visitors planning to visit the capital this summer - business is expected to boom. This offers a perfect opportunity for businesses to market their wares to new potential customers, but also provides a challenge for the city's logistics and transport network. Currently, 25% of central London's road transport is made up of freight deliveries - meaning that the impact on businesses and their deliveries will be significant.

But, it's not just London businesses that will see the effects of the Games; the ripple effect of events taking place all over the country mean companies across the UK may be affected. Sound planning, therefore, is key regardless of where your business is situated in order to manage a potential increase in demand.

Businesses need to ensure there is a provision of goods to cater for the increase in demand from their own suppliers, but should also be prepared for potential delays resulting from congestion on the roads. They may want to consider scheduling deliveries of stock, parts, materials etc. to arrive in advance of the major events - to ensure they're in a position to maximise profit, rather than struggle as a result of the increased demand.

Maximise "Brand Britain"

With the world's eyes on the UK, this is a great time to promote "Brand Britain" to international markets. If you're a manufacturer of British products or even a UK creative brand, now is the time to really sell your business.

Interestingly, DHL-commissioned research, conducted amongst businesses in the UK fashion industry, identified that 72% believe Britain's influence on the global fashion scene is growing.

But, regardless of your sector, you can capitalise on this sentiment. International markets are increasingly opting to 'buy British', as demonstrated from a string of recent successful profit figures from brands such as, Mulberry and Bentley - so promoting your company's British heritage, where possible, will be key.

Maintaining momentum

To sustain momentum, businesses should start thinking now about preparing their operation to serve this international audience once the events are over - and initiating an export programme for their goods and services will be the best way to facilitate this.

Identifying countries that have an appetite for your product or service is perhaps one of the biggest hurdles for businesses looking to trade internationally for the first time, so the Olympics presents a great "testing phase" where they can monitor where the greatest demand presents itself, in what types of industries, which products and which competitors are making moves to satisfy that demand. There's a great deal of help available too - from your local Chambers of Commerce, to UK Trade & Investment, to DHL Express itself.

With the recent reports that have confirmed we are officially in a double dip recession, the super summer of 2012 is exactly what the UK economy needs to kick start growth - combined with the Government's emphasis on exports. But starting out is often a daunting concept. However, the excitement and attention that this summer's events will attract for the UK is an opportunity not to be missed. Businesses willing to take the leap should seek support to maximise this huge profit potential - putting measures in place now that will potentially deliver sustained economic growth in the future.