It's different and its daunting
In a recent article1, Linda Kozlowski, Director of Global marketing at Alibaba.com, listed several “truisms” of international business development and exporting. Most important is the common misconception among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that exporting is only for F1000 that have the capacity and connections to secure and administer major deals.
SME’s often don’t consider trading globally as they naively assume they are unable to compete with large, well-established companies. Linda notes that new advances in technology, communications and logistics are such that businesses of any size can now access international markets and a vast range of untapped buyer groups with relative ease. In addition, the internet has proven be a valuable tool which has revolutionized the ease of importing and exporting, providing many locations where all businesses can reach out to one another, connect and trade securely.
Help & Support is AvailableShe outlines aggressive plans by the UK government to put small businesses at the forefront of its plans to support international trade and aid economic recovery in the UK. These plans are similar to those in the US which are encapsulated in the National Export Initiative and are important given the continued slow growth and suppressed demand domestically. These supportive government programs present a golden opportunity for SMEs to embrace the global market.
We know that in the US only 1% of firms export and statistics indicate a similar hesitancy among British SMEs where only 20% do so. And shockingly, more than a quarter consider themselves too small to trade with partners based outside the UK (according to research conducted on behalf of Alibaba.com by Trends Research on a sample of 1,400 UK small businesses during August 2010). Even among well-established smaller companies, simple lack of experience is often cited as a key barrier, in addition to issues such as language differences.
Facts, but not legitimate reasonsOK, experience and language differences no longer need to be a barrier to exporting. If you break it down into manageable first steps and then understand the end-to-end process it’s a great place to start. In addition, there are several key consideration when selecting the right export advisor that should not be overlooked.
It simply takes a proactive decision and an ongoing commitment. There are many reasons to export and Consilium provides a unique vertically integrated suite of services to assist companies - from those who are starting to those with robust export programs that would benefit from some strategy and pruning.
Contact us to see how we can help.
And next week, more on the Alibaba study and what it means for SMEs and US exports