UK companies which export are responsible for 60 per cent of national productivity growth and more than 70 per cent of UK business research and development. This helps to give them a technical competitive advantage, leading to more sales and opening new markets.
Doing business overseas is a different experience for every company and its benefits will vary greatly depending on the personal profile of each firm. As well as opening access to new sources of revenue, trading internationally will allow you to spread risk across a wider range of customers, extend the market for specific products and ensure that you are aware of international competition.
In some cases companies are able to offer much more interesting roles for their staff, and to recruit better people as a result.
Exporting can also be a catalyst for innovation. In many cases you will see new ideas and opportunities overseas which will spur you to develop new and modified products to meet the needs of international customers.
This can help you to gain and retain a competitive advantage in the UK as well.
Academic research confirms that exporting companies:
- are more productive and innovative than non exporters;
- are more resilient to an economic downturn;
- achieve stronger financial performance;
- have a higher profile and more credibility; and
- are more likely to stay in business
A Growing Trend
More and more UK companies are recognising the benefits of exporting. Research shows that a growing number of UK firms have increased their export levels. A recent study found that the percentage of UK firms doing business overseas rose from 26 per cent to 31 per cent over a two-year period.
Exporting is not just for bigger businesses. A recent survey of around 200 smaller exporters showed that three in every four planned to export more in 2011. A separate study found that the proportion of small UK firms exporting increased by 10 per cent in both manufacturing and services over a six-year period.
An increasing number of young UK companies are grabbing international opportunities from an early stage. Almost one in five new firms are currently active abroad – and so have been doing business overseas since they started trading.