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Globally, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that sell products overseas generate average revenues of $1.5 million from those exports each year. Moreover, in every market surveyed by FedEx, businesses who exported experienced an average annual growth rate of 11% or more compared to their non-exporting counterparts.

Some still perceive a variety of barriers when it comes to exporting, expressing concerns over costs, currency exchanges and being paid. The majority of these challenges can however be overcome with the right support, which is readily available. For example, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) provides a wide range of support programmes, including the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) and the Passport to Export. It also assists participating SME exporters in foreign trade fairs. With worries now assuaged, SMEs can easily branch out into the global arena.

Best locations for exporting activity

The Global SME Import/ Export Research from FedEx Express revealed that the best opportunities may lie further afield than you might think. Businesses in Singapore, Hong Kong and Colombia are the most likely to import goods from other markets, representing strong exporting and growth opportunities for UK businesses. UK Fashion and textile businesses, for example, could look to send goods to Hong Kong, where 15% of SMEs in that sector import – a higher rate than any other country. Meanwhile, Japanese businesses are the most likely to import food and drink, Spanish businesses take the lead with technological equipment imports, and businesses in Taiwan import the highest volumes of industrial items. Tapping into international markets tailored to your business is a sure-fire way to achieve fast and sustainable business growth and ensure long-term success.

So, what does the future hold?

Export confidence is high among UK businesses, with 55% believing they will be generating international revenue in five years’ time, a 17% increase from the current level. Evidently, small and medium sized businesses are leading the charge and jumpstarting the nation’s exporting activity, which is fantastic news for government, the economy and business stakeholders. However, with all signs pointing to an increase of SMEs breaking into export markets across the globe over the next few years, it is vital that the necessary logistics and funding providers are in place to support them along the way. The growing promise of international markets and expansive support and guidance means that there is nothing to prevent businesses from making the most of international trade. Go out and export, the world is your oyster!

By David Poole, Managing Director Sales, UK South at FedEx Express