How to….. internationalise and grow your business
In light of the new set of How To…… Business JUMPSTART courses, “How To” questions have been on our minds.
How To Internationalise seems to be a big one that weighs heavy on many SMEs in the EU, especially those that are only used to do business only inside their own country or in their own language. The extra resources and skills required can be daunting to SMEs especially when it comes to expanding their networks and doing the groundwork for sales that can only come further into the future.
· identifying business partners abroad is too difficult,
· knowing where to find information about the potential market,
· not knowing the rules,
· the company does not have the specialised staff to deal with exports, or that
· they lack the language skills to deal with foreign countries.
Almost one third of the SMEs think that support for finding business partners and networking would help them to internationalise, but “how to” achieve that…..?
Although SMEs are the backbone of the EU economy representing 99% of European businesses, and providing 85% of all new jobs, only 30% of SMEs have exported to another EU country, while 20% have exported to a non-EU country. However, 36% of the SMEs have imported from another EU country, while 19% have imported from a non-EU country. There is a large domination of small companies selling only to others in their own local geography.
Today markets are global and full of opportunities. Therefore, internationalisation of a SME plays an extremely important role when the company wants to boost the growth of its business and for companies working with complex scientific and technology products, an absolute necessity to ensure survival.
It takes a leap of faith. It takes confidence in the global appeal of the products and services – helpful if this is backed up by concrete market research and actual market evidence such as letters of intent – but even that takes looking beyond your own borders.
Firstly, there is a need for a strategy – a plan to create the market, or join the existing international market. SMEs do not need to have all the expertise internally in their companies, but they can outsource activities including internationalisation activities. It is possible to work with carefully selected, trusted groups, such as SSC, to bridge the gap to success whilst you are gaining those skills and the confidence to go forwards alone.