SMEs should tackle exporting in stages
There’s one thing that we need to look at in the UK economy, is to increase the number of small and medium sized businesses with an international presence. At the moment about one in five small and medium sized companies is an exporter, which sounds okay but if you compare that with a country like Germany, then it’s closer to one in four. So there’s a bit of growth that’s possible there for UK SMEs.
It’s much easier for these businesses if they tackle exporting in stages. The first thing that they need to do is just have an understanding about their products and services and their applicability to different markets around the world. They need to do their due diligence.
The second stage of that is that they actually need to expand their networks and find out who else is operating there and work with partners to find out what support is available because agencies like the Department for International Trade (DIT) have great services which can really help businesses who are taking those first steps.
And once you’ve done that, it’s not just the case of putting all your eggs in one basket and making a great leap. It’s much better for a number of businesses just to make one or two sales to test out how it works and really dip your toe in the water first so that you can almost pilot the idea of becoming an international business. Once you’ve done that it’s much easier to build upon and you can start thinking about expanding operations and maybe even internationalising and setting up new operations in a new market.
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