Because a new survey from Barclays has found that small businesses grow by a third within two years of starting to export their goods and services. So with a stuttering economy at home, small and medium-sized businesses are being encouraged to look more further afield than ever before.
The survey highlights the positive impact exporting has on the bottom line of small firms. Not only is it providing a boost for their budgets, but also local recruitment – 31% of those asked in the survey has taken on more staff in the UK as a result of going global.
With the Eurozone a tough place to trade right now, it seems that the further you go, the better you do. China, Australia, India, South Africa and Singapore are many thousands of miles away, but with international communications and logistics available to even the smallest SME, the barriers to trading in far-off lands are tumbling fast.
Technology, of course, helps to make foreign markets more accessible to British entrepreneurs. A good website or eCommerce platform can be your shop front to the world. Being able to accept payments online is another way to encourage international trade through the internet.
As old markets dry up or disappear, more and more UK firms should be looking to expand and take advantage of new emerging ones…
10 hot spots for British exports:
1. Hong Kong
8. UAE (including Dubai)
9. South Africa
Want to export?
You might have a strategy for global domination mapped out, but if you haven’t, a good place to start is UK Trade & Investment (UKTI). Advice from this Government department is impartial and comes with a sophisticated back-up network that is pretty hard to match. There is plenty of free advice as well as a paid-for service that includes access to Government resources around the world.
But before you will be ready to export, consider this:
- How do you do business in a chosen market?
- How to get the confidence to explore or expand into new markets
- What or who is my competition?
- Identify the right opportunities
- Decide on the best market entry strategy
- Understand local regulations, standards, customs and culture
- What barriers do you face over entry or expansion?
- How will you manage financial transactions and risk
- Where can you attend promotional events, seminars or join trade delegations?
And finally, before you think: ‘only big businesses can expand overseas’. The Barclays survey mentioned above was carried out among 1500 business with 1-250 employees.
So the message is clear: exporting is good for (small) business.