How missed export chances could be hampering UK small businesses

Small businesses across the UK could be missing out on much needed income as they are failing to grasp all opportunities available to them, a new study claims.


That is according to Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, who revealed that 61% of the SMEs they surveyed were not currently exporting goods.


In addition to this, 52% had no plans to do so at all and could therefore be missing out on large portions of sales and limiting their growth potential.


At the opposite end of the spectrum, nearly one in three businesses who are already exporting said it had helped them to create jobs and growth.


Overcoming challenges


A number of challenges do exist for those trying to branch out into new markets and many firms said they felt the situation needs to change to encourage greater success.


For instance, 29% said they believe receiving regulatory advice would provide them with the necessary information while a quarter said they need more financial assistance.


Expansion can be an expensive process and for firms with tight cash flows it can be difficult to ensure that money is available for growth.


There can be a fine line between success and failure in foreign markets and some firms are not willing to take risks – the threat of company administration or insolvency can be deemed too great should expansion not work out.


Concerns relating to this are highlighted by the fact that a fifth of firms said they required further market research assistance and expertise in order to even consider overseas expansion.


Most companies should keep the risks at the forefront of their thoughts when looking to European markets and beyond, especially given the instability currently seen in some regions.


Europe remains the most popular target for firms though, while opportunities also exist in North America, Asia and the Middle East.


Given the fantastic reputation that comes with British goods and services, smaller businesses could regret failing to seize any opportunities that come their way.


While exporting is not for everyone, it is probably something that smaller firms should consider, especially in a digital age where reaching customers is becoming easier and easier.


By Phil Smith

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