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Expanding overseas pays off for SMEs

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Expanding overseas pays off for SMEs

Moving into international markets has proved fruitful for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK, a new study has found.

According to research by Barclays, 29 per cent of SMES saw an improvement in their bottom line only six months after stepping up global export activity.

More than half of those polled said the level of growth was beyond their expectations, while over a third said they achieved the growth figures they had been anticipating.

Figures from Barclays showed that many of the SMEs who exported goods abroad also saw an increase in sales.

Whereas only 30 per cent of firms who operate exclusively in the UK have seen sales go up since 2010, 48 per cent of those with international export operations have experienced an upturn during this period.

As a result, many SME owners are optimistic this trend will continue over the next few years, while 84 per cent expect exporting to be a critical driver of business growth in the near future.

Barclays also discovered that the benefits of this approach appear to be getting across to those who do not export overseas at the moment. Some 23 per cent of SMEs that do not send goods abroad intend to do so between now and 2017, although a similar proportion said they have not made a decision on whether to adopt this approach.

Steve Cooper, Barclays Business Banking's vice chairman, commented: "Winning business overseas is a vitally important way for SMEs to prosper and help the economy grow out of recession.

"Exporting provides attractive new revenue growth for businesses, boosting the bottom line and supporting job creation."

Trade and investment minister Lord Green added that the government wants to see an additional 100,000 firms from the UK exporting to other countries by 2012.

He insisted that boosting Britain's export performance and fuelling growth in the SME sector are "key parts" of the coalition's plan to secure a "stronger, more balanced and resilient economy".

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