Small Business Advice Week also brings the news that the majority of British small businesses (60%) are not exporting abroad, potentially missing out on millions of pounds.
For 26% of small businesses, the cost and complexity of getting through customs is the main obstacle to exporting. However according to Royal Mail’s International Delivery Matters reports, many international orders from outside the EU fall below the minimum price threshold at which customs duties are chargeable.
Other reasons given by small business owners for avoiding exporting were a lack of knowledge of the market (21%) and language barriers (21%).
But the research shows that those who are not selling overseas are missing out. Among the 40% of business who sell internationally, just over a quarter of their sales this Christmas (26%) are expected to come from international orders.
The study of 300 senior decision makers and small business owners was conducted by Royal Mail to assess small business owners’ attitudes to international growth. It also found that 35% of small businesses believe Europe holds the most potential to generate new sales for their business. Looking further afield, 28% believe the USA and North America hold the most potential.
Small town, big dreams
A further look into the export aspirations of UK small business owners found that 10% are currently selling to customers within the EU and would like to seek more opportunities to sell to non-EU customers.
15% said they sell outside the EU and would like to seek even more opportunities to sell to non-EU customers.
Jim Shaikh CEO of Yoomi said: “Expanding internationally was a no-brainer for us. The UK market for
our product is very mature and we found that expanding abroad was the logical next step and the only clear way for us to achieve solid growth.”
While domestic online marketplaces are popular among small business looking to grow their UK customer base, only 25% of small businesses look to international marketplaces to grow their sales potentially missing out of the huge sales potential they offer.