Research released by the Royal Mail last week emphasises many of the points raised in our recent report, UK Micro-Multinationals: Business Beyond Borders. It states that 35% of the British businesses they surveyed believe that Europe holds the most potential to generate new sales for them.
Our own research suggested the same, particularly emphasising our country’s business relationships with robust Western European economies such as Germany and France. Aside from factors like their well-developed infrastructure and skilled workforce, these nations might be attractive to UK SMEs simply because of our similar status and position globally.
There is also surely an element of relationship-building involved – Western Europe is after all a neighbouring territory, which we can easily visit in order do business face to face, strengthening ties with suppliers, distributors and vendors. In business, such personal relationships are crucial, so the concerned reaction to the Brexit vote in some quarters is to be expected. By exiting the EU, are we potentially doing harm to the levels of trust felt by our business partners across the channel?
It is of course too early to properly gauge the impact of Brexit on SME internationalisation. If it proves to inhibit UK micro-multinationals from establishing a trading base in their traditionally favoured markets, it stands to reason that we’ll be doing a lot more business further afield, from the US to China.
Whichever region your business is targeting for expansion, be sure to research it thoroughly, to ensure that the opportunity presented in that market is in line with your company’s growth ambitions. And if it’s not feasible to build trusted relationships through regular face-to-face time, do the next best thing and make the time to get your partners and customers on the phone at every opportunity.
Read the full research report, UK Micro-Multinationals: Business Beyond Borders
– Neil Hammerton, CEO