An annual survey suggests that some 1.3 million UK-based small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) intend to branch out overseas this year in a bid to expand their horizons and invigorate their plans for growth.
According to CitySprint’s latest annual survey of business owners and decision makers, ambitions among Britain’s SMEs remain strong, despite the fact that business confidence has fallen slightly over the past few years.
Looking ahead, almost a quarter (24 per cent) of business leaders surveyed told the leading logistics company that they intended to investigate opportunities to expand overseas before the end of 2018.
Of those eyeing-up international trade, the majority (78 per cent) said that they wanted their organisation to branch out into Europe, while more than half (55 per cent) added that they were hoping to establish a customer based in the United States.
Meanwhile, a further 36 per cent added that they wanted to expand in Asian markets.
The survey assessed businesses in a variety of prominent sectors and found that, in most industries, around a third of businesses were anticipating above-average levels of international growth.
37 per cent of SMEs operating in the arts and culture sector felt confident about their short-term international future, as did 36 per cent of IT and telecoms companies, 32 per cent of SME retailers and 30 per cent of manufacturing and utility firms.
Commenting on the findings, Patrick Gallagher, Group CEO at CitySprint, suggested it was encouraging that businesses were keen to push ahead with their growth plans despite current political uncertainties.
“The UK’s smaller enterprises show no shortage of ambition when it comes to exploring new markets” he said.
“It’s great to see so many SMEs… showing no fear in the face of international opportunity.”
Toni Hunter, Partner at George Hay, said: “No matter the extent to which you intend to expand your horizons, or which markets you want to break into, scaling-up is a significant milestone in any organisation’s history and an exciting time for business owners.”
“With the right support, a business with ambition has the opportunity to not only maximise their potential but to ensure that things run as smoothly as possible.”
“Even in the face of political uncertainty, an agile and flexible approach will be the thing that sees many businesses facing up to these challenges with confidence.”
“It’s always nice to see such positivity amongst the business community; despite Brexit looming it seems that the majority are prepared to just carry on as usual and continue to strive for success.”
Here at George Hay we understand that, when you’re busy running a business, it can be hard to step back to see where you are now, where you want to be in the future and what you need to do to get there. Our professional advisors can help you by providing strategic advice that will help to bring the bigger picture into focus.