Three Quarters of UK Small Businesses Not Exporting

52% of survey respondents identify ‘lack of support’ as main barrier to exporting despite 35% of businesses identifying new markets as essential to business success

Despite a growth in UK exports, only a quarter of small and mid-sized businesses are trading overseas – with over half stating they require more support to do so.

A FedEx survey of 1,000 businesses entitled The Great British Export Report revealed that, although only a quarter of small and mid-sized businesses are exporting, 35% of the respondents identified tapping into new markets as essential to their business’ success in the next 12 months. Furthermore, of those companies that are exporting 41% predict that in five years their business will be mostly international.

Despite the government setting an export target of £1tn by 2020, the research identified ‘lack of support’ as the main barrier to exporting with 51.9% of the respondents stating so. This was followed by 20% of businesses attributing a lack of technical knowledge and a concern over costs as reasons for not expanding overseas.

Finally the report found that small and mid-sized businesses are finding it challenging to enter some of the larger emerging markets, with China, Russia and India under-represented by the UK’s smaller businesses. The survey also revealed that top markets, the US, China and Russia, were named as the most challenging countries to enter by small and mid-sized businesses.

FedEx’s vice president in the UK and Ireland, Trevor Hoyle, spoke about the findings; urging small businesses to think more global and the need for support:

“Now is the time for UK businesses to prepare for the internationalisation of their activities. This will allow them to get off to a flying start on the global stage and succeed in driving the UK economy forward, as long as they have access to the correct support required to help propel them to continuing international success.”

“Whilst there are challenges for some companies in doing business abroad, they can be overcome by having access to the right support, expertise and network.”

For more information on expanding overseas, take a look at is4profit’s exporting section.

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