Supply chain · 4 July 2016

Promise of distant shores: SME exporting opportunities in global markets

exporting opportunities
The best exporting opportunities could be found further afield than you might think

David Poole discusses the advantages of exporting to international markets for small businesses.

A positive trend is emerging for UK exports, with the latest data from the Office for National Statistics revealing exporting activity has increased by £500m in March alone. Research indicates Britain’s SMEs are contributing to reducing the UK’s trade deficit, with 53 per cent sending goods to markets beyond Britain’s borders. Increased exporting activity is not only great news for the national economy but significantly benefits SME owners. Trading internationally can offer clear business advantages, such as reducing risks, lower unit costs, economies of scale, and sustainable growth.

Advantages of exporting internationally

Some small business owners still perceive a variety of barriers when it comes to exporting, expressing concerns over costs, currency exchanges and being paid. However, globally, the advantages can outweigh the challenges, with businesses that sell products overseas generating just over one million pounds on average per year from exports alone.   from the Office for as independent retailers including sively to members of lowing the announcement of expansion plans.

Additionally, in every market surveyed, exporting SMEs experienced on average a growth rate 11 per cent higher than that of their non-exporting counterparts each year.

Most of the challenges which present themselves to small firm owners who wish to export can be overcome with appropriate support. For instance, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) provides a wide array of programmes, including the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS), the Passport to Export and UK Export Finance. It also assists participating small exporters in foreign trade fairs such as the Mobile World Congress or Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA).

Best destinations for exporting activity

Bear in mind that the best exporting opportunity could be found further afield than you might think. Research has revealed there are strong exporting and growth opportunities for UK businesses in Colombia, Singapore and Hong Kong, as enterprises in these regions are more likely to import goods from other markets. For example, 15 per cent of SMEs in Hong Kong’s fashion and textile sector import – a higher rate than any other country. Strong product demand from SMEs leaders across the globe presents their UK counterparts with a clear-cut way to increase international trade.

While Spanish businesses take the lead with technological equipment imports, Japanese SMEs are the most likely to import food and drink, and businesses in Taiwan import the highest volumes of industrial items. Aligning your business with global requirements can be a cast-iron way to secure fast and sustainable business growth and long-term success.

So, what’s next?

The only way appears to be up, with exporting confidence high among UK small bus. A staggering 55 per cent believe they will be generating international revenue in five years’ time, a 17 per cent jump from the current level. SME owners are leading the charge and jumpstarting the nation’s exporting activity, which is great news for the government, the economy and business stakeholders.

It is vital the necessary logistics and funding providers gear up to support SMEs as they break into export markets across the world. The advantages to going global and the expansive support and guidance available, mean that there is nothing to prevent SMEs from getting started and making the most of international markets. So, get exporting and set the world alight!

To find out more about exporting to South America, check out these top tips.

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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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