Tom Jeffries

Increase In Small Businesses Looking To Expand Globally


Over the next two years, small businesses in the UK plan to increase their international business relationships with 6 out of 10 small businesses expanding international. 28% expect revenue from international sales to increase by 2016.

Digital Outlook

With today’s modern technology it is becoming easier to trade internationally, Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation says “In an increasingly digital world, many of today’s start ups are thinking globally from day one and reaping the benefits, however there are also many small businesses that aren’t online and aren’t exploring the potential of international trade.”

Deciding whether to go international

The two biggest reasons for not internationally trading are that business owners are unsure that their products or services aren’t relevant to the international market. Follow these guidelines as to how your small business can increase it’s chance of success:

Is it a good idea?

Asking yourself as a business if going international is a good idea can help you weigh up the pros and cons. Simple questions can be the most searching, understanding that what works in the UK markets may not work in any other market is crucial. Considering language and cultural barriers, and even legal obstacles is a must. Looking at the Small Business GREAT Ambition initiative can help small businesses expand into new markets.

Trade associations are very helpful when it comes to deciding whether you want to export and if it is the right decision for your business. “Trade associations are usually in the best position to flag up the problems the exporter will face” says Paul Alger, director of international business development at the UK Fashion & Textile Association.

Distribution? Partner?

The next big question is how are you going to stimulate and fulfill demand? How are you going to get your product or service to the customer? “My top tip is to find a distribution partner who is focused on your customer base, a good cultural fit with your business, and who understands your product and route to market.” Says William Crawford of Concrete Canvas.

Legal process

Steve Beahan from Irwin Mitchell, says “A business must ensure that its contract is watertight, ensure that it understands what jurisdiction covers the agreement, and check that its standard terms and conditions are up to date.” As small business owners it is great to naturally be optimistic with new partners and opportunities but it is important to ask the ‘what ifs’  before the deal is done.

Following these guidelines and doing your own research into the international markets, you’ll find lots of useful information that will guide your decision of if going international is the right direction for your business. If the international market isn’t something you are ready to explore yet, take a look at our established business for sale in the UK.