Small firms reveal international growth plans

Research reveals 20% of UK small businesses trading internationally


Overseas trade is becoming a key growth plan for many small companies, as a new survey has discovered that by 2013, 40% of the world’s small and medium businesses will be trading internationally.

Data released by HSBC highlights the appetite of small companies to venture overseas, with 20% of British small and medium sized enterprises already trading in foreign markets.

However, the bi-annual survey of more than 6,000 small and medium firms in 21 countries indicated an overall decline in business confidence in developed markets, with just 12% forecasting an increase in local economic growth.

Noel Quinn, head of commercial banking UK at HSBC, said: “Some consider the fast growth in emerging markets a challenge to the UK supply chain, with companies increasingly seeking low cost products from overseas. In actual fact, we’re seeing ‘thinking’ businesses approach this shift with optimism, using it as an opportunity to innovate and cash in on the creativity, strong heritage and knowledge-intensive base Britain is renowned for.

“Looking to the future, we see these markets driving a new wave of consumer and business investment demand, which will provide exciting export opportunities for businesses.”

According to the research, 39% of companies not yet undertaking international business cited lack of knowledge and international connections as the key barrier.

Quinn added: “For many firms, international trade offers an opportunity to exploit their own strengths, diversify their customer base and expand their business, but it is not a step that should be taken lightly.”

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2011

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