Think exports are only an issue with US businesses? They’re at issue all over…..
More small businesses than ever are looking to export goods and services, according to new research by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
Findings from the FSB’s quarterly business index reveal that a net balance of 24% of FSB members expect exports to rise in the next three months.
Boosting export performance
The UK’s current account deficit was much larger than expected in the final quarter of last year standing at £22.4bn. This figure was only slightly lower than the all-time high of £22.8bn recorded in the previous quarter.
These results show that it’s essential to narrow the export gap and British small businesses have a key part to play. The government has set targets for 100,000 more exporters and to double the value of UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020.
Exporting overseas can be a valuable way for businesses to develop and grow. Expanding into international markets has the potential for businesses to increase their revenue and profitability.
Just like in the US, UK businesses need to remember that while developing your business on an international level, not to forget to keep your business protected on the home front with a insurance for your business.
The FSB’s recent survey of nearly 9,000 small businesses found that the sectors most likely to export are:
- Manufacturing (42%)
- Wholesale trade (41%)
- Research and Development (36%)
- Engineering (34%)
- Digital/telecoms businesses (25%)
Other findings reveal the main barriers to exporting are:
- Fluctuating exchange rates (35%)
- Difficulty finding customers (24%)
- Lack of finance/working capital (23%)
Language and culture, alongside legal obstacles can also be barriers for firms new to international trade. But, companies need to be encouraged to repeat their domestic success in new markets.
Help is at hand
It is essential that small firms have the knowledge, ability and potential to benefit from the overseas opportunities.
The FSB believes that the UK’s export strategy must focus on matching a company’s export potential to the right overseas market. Exports to newer markets have been rising over recent years. Make sure your business is promoted to the right market by seeking advice.
The Small Business: GREAT Ambition initiative from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) provides an accessible guide to help ambitious businesses develop and break into new markets.
The Government’s UK Trade & Investment helps small businesses to exploit export opportunities. It has a network of trade advisors around the world, and aims to support 50,000 businesses per year.
The UK Export Finance helps businesses get trade finance and provides credit insurance policies to protect businesses from the risk of bad debts.