Given the position the country is in, post Brexit, and the efforts the government is putting into persuading them, many UK SMEs could and should be trading internationally but are not, and based on the first-hand information I have, it’s often for one of four main reasons, or a combination of them;
1. A lack of easily accessible and practical help available to them.
2. A lack of funds and the perceived costs involved.
3. A lack of in-house know-how and relevant experience.
4. A lack of desire to engage with government or associated bureaucracies.
Those that do consider it are funnelled into an inflexible process delivered through intermediaries with their own priorities and which, in many cases, are not geared up to provide the most relevant expertise required, and so business owners with little or no international experience are either left to their own devices or deterred from ever embarking on an international trade journey.
The result is the low level of UK businesses going global. The last I heard, only 11% of UK business export and while 75% of export-generated revenue comes from large companies, on 15% comes from our multitude of SMEs. The government, to its credit, is trying to stimulate interest with what must be a very expensive and glossy advertising campaign, but its effect has been lack-lustre.
Turning interest into action is the missing link and the afore-mentioned practical issues are the obstacles to overcome. But how?
Well, a solution may be at hand. UK International Trade Service, a new publicly funded, not-for-profit private service addresses these issues by providing SMEs with a like-minded business champion and the practical help they need, when they need it, to succeed in world markets – and without any of the value of their budget being taken in the process.
As a specialist service provider, I welcome and applaud the initiative and am keen to support it by offering my services to and through it. I hope many more specialists and service providers will do the same so that British business can help itself to take advantage of the many in-bound and out-bound market opportunities worldwide.
What our SMEs now have is another option and another choice. Let’s hope their ‘reasons not to’ are now replaced by ‘reasons to’ and that many more of them will take up the challenge.
UKITS website is at www.ukits.org
Its mission statement is:
UK International Trade Service has been created by business people to help UK companies, particularly SMEs, conquer world markets.
For many, when it comes to international trade, it’s not a matter of what or when or where or even why, but HOW? So, we’re not just another source of information. What we provide is the practical help that turns ambition into action, with the support needed to ensure action results in success.
Our aim is to promote international trade and provide British business with an alternative source of help. One that is free to use, goes the extra mile and is with them every step of the way.
Sounds good to me!