Going global is good for small businesses

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SMEs engaged in international markets are twice as likely to be successful as those that only operate domestically, according to a DHL Express study.

Of the SMEs surveyed, 26 per cent of the companies that were trading internationally significantly outperformed their market, in contrast to only 13 per cent of those with operations only in their home country.

Companies saw the major benefits of this international approach as the access to new markets that it provides them with, as well as access to know-how and technology, and diversification of their products or services.

The study, produced by HIS for DHL, found that inadequate business infrastructure is constraining competitiveness by reducing business efficiency, and that SMEs are having to work harder to overcome infrastructure inefficiencies, particularly compared to larger companies with greater resource.

It also revealed that developed world SMEs are lagging behind emerging market SMEs in terms of the internationalisation of their businesses.

Significantly, BRICM SMEs placed more emphasis on logistics as a positive influence on their international operations than their G7 counterparts, suggesting that they rely more on efficient transport and customs processes to overcome infrastructure obstacles, but also that they see logistics services as a competitive differentiator for their business.

Ken Allen, chief executive of DHL Express, said: “There are clearly still some hurdles that remain for small businesses with global aspirations, but we are delighted to see that more and more SMEs are looking at the fantastic opportunity that international trade represents.”

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