Mid-sized UK firms turn attention to wider international markets

The UK’s medium-sized businesses are more likely to expand into new global markets than their smaller counterparts, according to new data.

According to Albion Ventures, the majority of firms are more likely to consider trade with countries that are outside of the Eurozone, over those within it too.

More than one in five SMEs said they intend to increase their trade with non EU markets in the next two years, while 16% plan to target within the EU.

Growth ambitions for UK businesses have increased too, as 37% want to move into overseas marker while 29% have set their sights on domestic growth.

Around one in eight businesses wants to launch new products and services overseas to support growth.

The latest Growth Report also revealed that around half of SMEs want to sell in new markets, a figure that rises to around three quarters of mid-sized firms.

Expanding with caution

Despite their ambitions to expand into new markets, such moves are not without risk for small firms.

The report found that half of all firms that have expanded have experienced some sort of issue, which ranged from lacking the right staff or expertise to overcoming regulations and strong competitors.

Sourcing finance for such growth can also be a stumbling point, despite there being a range of alternative finance options available.

Making a business more efficient can also help when it comes to raising finance, and restructuring may help growth in the long term.

An independent business review may reveal some potential opportunities, as well as potential exit strategies for any operations that are underperforming.

By sector, nearly four in five transport firms revealed plans for growth, which represented the highest proportion of any industry.

Three quarters of manufacturing businesses and 72% of technological firms also view global expansion as being a key part of their future plans.

By region, 68% of firms in London are looking to expand in the next two years, while those in the East of England are least likely to do so.

By Phil Smith

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