Over half of UK SMEs looking to expand into new markets
More than half (58%) of UK SMEs plan to enter new markets in the next two years with the manufacturing sector leading the way, according to a new study by Albion Ventures, one of the largest independent venture capital investors in the UK.
Evidence of an export-led recovery is provided by the fact that one-in-three (34%) SMEs are looking to break into new markets overseas, of which 19% are casting outside the EU and 15% within the single market. This is higher than the 30% targeting untapped domestic markets. A further one-in-six (15%) small businesses plan to grow through launching new products and improving their online services.
The third Albion Growth Report, designed to shed light on the factors that both create and impede growth among over 1,000 SMEs, shows that medium-sized companies are more likely to be looking to expand into new markets (77%) than small businesses (53%).
In sector terms, three-quarters (75%) of manufacturing firms are planning to enter new markets, the highest of any sector and also top for expansion within the EU at 28%. Businesses in media, marketing and advertising (68%) and IT/ telecoms (56%) were second and third respectively.
New research into global business cultures
A report published today by RSM International, the seventh largest network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms, found that business culture can improve across countries globally. The second RSM Business Resilience Survey is based on the responses of 410 members of the RSM network and 291 entrepreneurs across nine European and several other countries.
The greatest improvement in business culture was found in Spain, which was previously found to be in a poor position. The survey attributes this rise to the availability of qualified employees and an increased willingness to employ foreign workers.
Norway leads the business culture ranking, followed by the Netherlands, UK, and Australia. Norway's surplus in its sovereign wealth fund has led to notable organisational investment in employees, such as training, and flexible and part-time working. Only Belgium was found by the RSM experts not to require improvements in business culture.
The survey found that the UK, the Netherlands and Spain were expected by [delete ‘the’] RSM experts to be the most economically progressive countries. Spain, as a turnaround country moving away from its economic crisis, is predicted in the survey to have the highest GDP growth rate of all countries surveyed and for growth to accelerate from 2015 to 2016. The UK and the Netherlands follow in the rankings of GDP growth rate predictions, although RSM's experts were pessimistic on GDP growth in these countries in comparison to the most recent OECD growth forecast.