By Martin Davidian, Managing Director Sales UK North & Ireland, FedEx Express

British entrepreneurs have a lot to be proud of. In 2014 alone, over half a million new companies were created in the UK, with micro and small enterprises representing 95% of the country’s businesses. Often described as “the backbone of the UK”, the CBI has estimated British small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) could inject a possible £20billion into the economy by 2020.

British SMEs play an important role in the UK’s growth and we need to nurture their success to ensure this continues. Furthermore, 2015 is expected to be another record-breaking year, with more than 600,000 new businesses set to launch. SMEs are set to create even more new jobs, boosting the economy along the way, and consequently require even more support to ensure these new businesses also have a positive impact on the economy.

As confidence continues to grow in the small business community, a significant portion of SMEs are now considering additional avenues to grow their business and boost the economy further. Savvy entrepreneurs have noticed how longer standing SMEs are having success overseas, and almost a quarter (24%) are planning to follow suit.

Exports play a key role in boosting the UK economy by helping to narrow the trade deficit while creating jobs and speeding up commercial growth. When it comes to exporting for the first time, there’s certainly no one-size-fits-all approach. But this is where your logistics provider can help. They’ll be able to advise you on how to reach new markets and achieve success overseas.

For those entrepreneurs looking to expand internationally, we’ve compiled three tips to help you navigate each step:

1. Helping you get off to a flying start

Logistics is about more than simply transporting goods from one place to another. It’s a solution for getting the right thing, to the right place, at the right time – and in the process bringing real value to your supply chain. Logistics is about access; access to a solid integrated supply chain, access to new markets anywhere in the world, and access to new revenue streams. In short, logistics maximises your business’ potential in the complex global marketplace.

2. Helping you prepare for the unexpected

Sometimes in business you can face a curveball, and on occasion it’s sufficient to simply run with it. Nevertheless, as knowledge is power, preparation is key, and so it’s importance to have a contingency plan for the most unexpected events. Then if they do occur, they don’t interfere with your procedures. After all, the international trading landscape can be very different to the domestic marketplace. Ask your transportation and logistics provider for information, not only about service and reliability levels, but ensure they have recovery and contingency plans, and double-check they provide regular customer communications and emergency contact information. You need to be sure that your product will be properly taken care of no matter what happens.

3. Helping you understand customs

This is a crucial but often overlooked step when exporting. Customs regulations can vary a lot from country-to-country, so checking early on in the process, if there are barriers to your product, could save you a lot of time and effort. Express carriers, such as ourselves, can not only satisfy your transport needs but often have integrated customs brokerage operations around the world to assist in this exact situation. We’re able to offer local expertise and experience on a global scale, making the process much quicker.

With the UK government launching campaigns such as StartUp Britain, the opportunities for SMEs to help boost the British economy, on a national and international basis, are vast. The above tips are based on just some of the conversations we have had with our SME customers, which reinforce how important it is to be not just a logistics provider but a trusted expert who provides solutions as well.