Supply chain · 6 April 2016

The rise of the micro multinational

micro multinational
Being defined as a global company is no longer the preserve of larger and more well-established corporations

As a micro business owner, going global can feel like a challenging prospect. But operating this way allows small firms to spread out the costs of manufacturing and still create products efficiently. By having some business components overseas, your micro enterprise can wield international influence.

The UK is one of the leading nations worldwide when it comes to micro multinational activity –small, self-starting companies with operations in various locations around the globe.

Traditionally, micro multinationals operated in smaller niche sectors, including technology and engineering. Now, the concept is spreading across other industries and is becoming a more recognised feature in the UK’s business landscape.

How micro multinationals compete on an international stage

 Being defined as a global company is no longer the preserve of larger and more well-established corporations. International markets are now the playground of an increasing number of business owners, with many micro multinationals even sharing similar qualities to global organisations. Many source their producers and suppliers abroad in order to keep costs down, and use a range of technologies to stay connected – enhancing their international base.

Even the smallest British business will have access to communication methods and innovations that were beyond their reach just 15 years ago. By combining virtual networks (high-speed broadband, mobile technology and other digital tools) with physical networks (transportation systems and logistics platforms), micro multinationals have the opportunity to transform industries almost overnight. They may even come to define our era, just as large multinationals defined global business in the late 20th century.

The advantages of being a micro multinational

Micro multinationals are a vital part of the world economy. They enjoy all of the advantages of SMEs: the flexibility to respond quickly to market changes, a collaborative DNA that fosters innovation, and the lack of institutional bureaucracy that often afflicts bigger organisations.

But such firms also enjoy benefits unavailable to SMEs operating in a single market. These include the ability to take advantage of international variations in knowledge, expertise and labour costs. Owners can operate their businesses anywhere in the world and around the clock using multiple time-zones. While micro multinationals have all the traditional benefits of being small and agile, they also enjoy benefits from operating and marketing products and services in a variety of global markets.

Ultimately, micro multinationals have a competitive edge. Owners have the expertise and understanding of conducting business globally, allowing them to more easily enter emerging markets and adapt to different cultural and consumer behaviours.

How micro multinationals are shifting the business landscape

 In recent times, there has been a rise in the number of micro multinationals, resulting in smaller British businesses spreading across the globe and benefiting from international trade. The logistics industry has a key role to play in this, providing not only fast and reliable logistics, but also expertise in trade regulations, customs and supply chain management.

Micro business leaders can now think big and grow global and by creating a continuous global value chain they really can see the bigger picture. Global reach needn’t be perceived as a corporate playground, as it is now feasible for large, small and micro to succeed.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

David Poole is managing director of sales, UK South at FedEx Express and FedEx UK. FedEx Express is the world’s largest express transportation company, providing fast and reliable delivery to every US address, as well as more than 220 countries and territories. 

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