Looking beyond Brexit: SMEs are being bullish about growing internationally

Many small firms are looking to turn the Brexit uncertainty to another opportunity and look to expand on a global level, according to research from the International Business Festival

Looking beyond Brexit: SMEs are being bullish about growing internationally

In the wake of the Brexit referendum, many would expect SMEs would be hit the hardest due to their dependency on Europe for not only export and import but also for skilled professionals. But while Britain’s divorce from the EU still continuing to be their number one concern, SMEs are now looking to grow internationally, according to the research from 2018 International Business Festival.

This new-found optimism in the survey saw 43% of 500 SME managers being hopeful about potential opportunities post-Brexit. While more than half of businesses say that leaving the EU will be detrimental to their business, 74% plan to increase their revenue within three years and 82% of them have clear plans about their upcoming endeavours.

For most SMEs, overseas markets currently account for between 20% and 50% of their revenues. But they have started to realise that growth will be difficult without going international especially when customs model might cost Britain an average of £20bn annually, according to a HMRC official.

SMEs are also facing numerous challenges when it comes to materialising their plans. The biggest barriers to increasing export activity are regulations which are not favourable, and networking with the right partners. Indeed, 30% think establishing contacts in other markets as an issue.

Commenting on the research Max Steinberg, chair of the 2018 International Business Festival, said: “It’s clear that entrepreneurs have aspirations of international growth but are hindered by stumbling blocks like regulations and logistics.”

Even though the report indicates otherwise, the long-term outlook of post-Brexit Britain is still unclear and will stay as such until we receive more up-to-date economic indicators.

While UK legislators are squabbling over the choice between a bad decision and a worse one with respect to Article 50, it might just be the time to look global in order to bolster your business in the midst of an economic downslide.


Varsha Saraogi
Varsha Saraogi

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