SMEs: steps to going global

SMEs: steps to going global

For marketers at SMEs, developing an international outlook might be daunting. But in an ever-more globally connected world, it’s unlikely that internationalism is off the radar. Some simple measures can help determine whether your business can benefit from international growth.

The amount of global consumers is growing and their spending power increasing. From 1990 to 2010, for example, 1.2 billion people moved into the middle class throughout the world, and 1.8 billion more will do so by 2025, say reports.

At the same time, the rapid growth of the internet has accelerated the ability to integrate business processes. The result is that companies of any size can now easily outsource production and services to foreign firms and turn them into global supply chain partners – with much lower overheads than before.

According to one recent study, more than half of all UK SMEs that export overseas experience a rise in profits and, with Sterling at a low level, such opportunities are even more appealing.

Small firms using e-commerce to buy and sell on a global scale might be ideally placed to make the new global weather system work for them.

PayPal, the digital payments firm, says its cross-border transactions, which includes activity from 10% of America’s 30m small firms, are running at $80bn a year, and growing fast. Meanwhile, Jack Ma, the boss of Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, predicts that a wave of small Western firms exporting goods to Chinese consumers will go some way to reversing the past two decades of massive American firms importing goods from China.

For marketers in small and medium-sized outfits, the challenge is to determine how ready you are for this brave new world. Even if you can’t compete with the big multinationals, an international outlook – and keeping an eye on global developments and trends – can help you maintain a competitive edge.

As English MP and historian, Edward Gibbon once said, “the winds and the waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.” Here are some key considerations to make before setting out on what might be uncharted global waters.

Andy Pemberton Director Furthr Ltd
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