Small business exporting: Breaking into the German market

Small business exporting: Breaking into the German market

Posted: Fri 5th Jan 2024

With the largest economy in Europe and the fourth-largest globally, Germany is the continent's economic powerhouse. Boasting the biggest consumer market in the European Union (EU), both in terms of population size and purchasing power, Germany offers UK businesses untold opportunities.

If you're considering the prospect of expanding your small business into the German market, it's crucial that you understand the challenges that come with selling in this unfamiliar environment.

To help you make this big step, we've put together a detailed guide that sets out the key steps involved in preparing to do business in Germany and outlines the necessary requirements for a successful trade.

Download now: Selling to customers in Germany – A guide for SMEs in the UK

What the guide contains

Selling to Germany: Main benefits and challenges

Understanding the advantages and hurdles of selling in the German market is really important for developing a winning strategy. Get a summary of the main benefits, such as:

  • a large and diverse customer base

  • the biggest consumer market in the EU

  • a strong economic framework, including excellent infrastructure, a robust legal system and a highly qualified workforce

Learn about the challenges, including the cultural differences and the complicated business laws and bureaucracy.

How Brexit has affected trade between the UK and Germany

In the guide, you'll also find details of the new trade rules between Germany and the UK as a result of Brexit. Learn how these rules and regulations will influence how you sell to customers in the German market.

Business culture in Germany

German business culture is formal by UK standards but is relatively straightforward to navigate. The culture champions efficiency, good organisation and perfection.

While Germany and the UK share a lot of common history and culture, there are some important things that you need to be aware of. Read the guide for top tips on business etiquette, dress code for business meetings, and how to approach negotiations.

Preparing to do business in Germany

Expanding your small business into the German market presents a fantastic opportunity to grow, diversify and increase your sales, revenue and profits. While Germany is a vast and lucrative market, there are many challenges to overcome first.

Before considering exporting to Germany, you must be clear on your reasons for doing it. Find out why stepping back, analysing and defining your export strategy will help increase the likelihood that your overseas trade is successful.

Getting your goods out of the UK

Exporting goods from the UK to Germany means planning carefully and following specific procedures.

In this section of the guide, you'll learn the various steps of the exporting process, such as getting an EORI number, securing an export licence (if necessary), determining the appropriate incoterms for your shipments and checking for trade barriers.

It also covers the crucial aspects of making a customs declaration and arranging for transportation.

Getting your goods into Germany

Successfully navigating the German customs process is vital in making sure your goods enter the country without any issues.

This section of the guide explains what paperwork you'll need to complete, and what taxes and duties you'll pay (and to who).


Knowledge is power! Equip yourself with the right tools to conquer the German market. Download our guide tailored for UK small businesses.

Learn how to sell to customers in Germany

Knowledge is power! Equip yourself with the right tools to conquer the German market. Download our guide tailored for small businesses like yours

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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