FedEx Plays Cupid In Matchmaking Europe’s SMEs This Valentine’s Day

By Trevor Hoyle, Vice President, Operations, Northern Europe, FedEx Express

Relationships and connections are important to uphold, whether personal or business related. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it is timely to recognise the need for businesses to maintain good relations with both customers and investors in order to succeed in an ever competitive marketplace. As we know, the run up to 14 February is one of the most important times of the year for celebrating relationships and for the consumer market it can mean big business for a variety of retailers. Gift expenditure predictions for Britain remain unwaveringly high each year at this time, with an estimated £595m spent on cards and gifts such as flowers and chocolates in 2014 alone. The importance of solid contacts and a good support network should never be underestimated as without strong partnerships, these opportunities will arguably be harder for businesses to capitalise on, whether in the UK or internationally.

Business Affairs of the Heart

Given recent challenging economic conditions in Europe, small businesses have increasingly been looking to take advantage of the huge opportunities available overseas. This is a trend that we anticipate will continue to grow as business confidence increases. In 2014, FedEx released its first Great British Export Report, which revealed that while only one quarter of UK SMEs are currently ‘internationally active’, over a third identified that tapping into new markets was going to be essential to their success over the following twelve months.

As we move further into 2015, we’re hoping to see more small businesses flirting with the idea of doing business across the world, as we’ve seen first-hand how exploring international markets can have a rejuvenating impact on a business. In the UK, the government has even set an ambitious £1 trillion export value target by 2020 (, emphasising the pivotal role SMEs need to play, and the importance of establishing partnerships and setting the support systems in place to enable this.

New Romances

To access the growth in emerging markets, UK SMEs need to be astute in identifying new trading opportunities and quickly accessing these new markets. As they don’t have the time or expertise to focus on the infrastructure and delivery of products, they need to work with a reliable express transportation provider who they can trust to help them understand the challenges of cross border trading and ultimately deliver their products on time.

An example close to my heart, of an SME which is flourishing beyond its own border, is Lauden Chocolate, an artisanal chocolatier which is reaping the rewards of international connectivity and experiencing sweet success the world over.

A Match Made in (Chocolate) Heaven

Owned by true chocolate lovers, Lauden Chocolate believes its creations are an art form and has been producing high-end, fine chocolates for over six years. Founded by a husband and wife team Lauden Chocolate now exports around the world to countries including Russia, China and Japan.  In the latter, the business has reaped huge rewards from capitalising on a unique Valentine’s Day tradition, where every business owner in the country gifts their employees with chocolates. As an artisanal chocolate company with the highest standards, it’s crucial the chocolates arrive at the destination in precisely the same condition as they left.

With its specialist expertise of delivering temperature and time-sensitive products, FedEx now transports Lauden Chocolate the world over, including to countries with hot climates. As a company which prides itself on quality, having this level of service is extremely valuable. The FedEx International Priority® service is particularly useful, offering advanced shipment monitoring and personalised notification of critical shipments. Support is available round-the-clock, giving Lauden Chocolate peace of mind that its products are in safe hands throughout the shipping process.

Love that Lasts

There is definitely mounting optimism among UK businesses that a period of prosperity is on the horizon, and exporting is vital to this. Thanks to the work done by the express transportation sector in business matchmaking, the SMEs of today have the ability to grow in ways that were previously unimaginable for business generations of the past.  Remember – building dependable relationships with people you can trust is important and braving the leap with a faithful partner by your side will enable your company to reach new heights.