More SMEs Look To Expand Abroad

Small Businesses More Likely To Invest In Growth In 2014

16.01.2014

Steven Beahan, Partner | +44 (0)114 294 7868

A greater number of small businesses in the UK are looking to sell their goods and services overseas in 2014.

According to a new study by Freelancer.co.uk, 45 per cent of companies hope to use the internet to attract new trade from abroad.

The UK government has launched a number of trade missions in recent months and the prime minister has urged British firms to forge stronger links with organisations in China in particular.

Many entrepreneurs have been buoyed by recent improvements in the UK economy and it seems plenty of startup businesses will look to expand in the next 12 months.

The Freelancer.co.uk survey found that more than half of small companies are planning to invest in growth in 2014.

Bill Little - the organisation's director of Europe - said: "2014 looks set to be [the] biggest year yet for UK small businesses, putting them at the forefront of technological changes. The UK is fast becoming Europe's most innovative and modern economy."

Many start-ups do not have the in-house expertise to launch new projects and ventures, which is why more firms are expected to outsource certain parts of their business.

Mr Little added that Britain is set to become Europe's fastest growing outsourcing economy.

"UK small businesses are hiring in experts to undertake the work that they can't do," he continued.
With small firms under more pressure to adopt new technology, it is no surprise to see companies hiring external IT specialists more frequently, while marketing experts and graphic designers are also in high demand.

The findings from the Freelancer.co.uk report tie in with the results of a recent Royal Mail study, which showed that British e-retailers are confident of expanding in 2014.

Around 56 per cent of the 400 small and medium enterprises that took part in the survey said they expected sales activity to increase this year, with many firms looking for new markets to explore.

Expert Opinion
This is just the latest in a number of studies to identify exporting or overseas expansion as key ambitions of start-ups and small businesses in the UK across 2014. As this research rightly highlights, taking these steps can be complicated for businesses and they need to have access to the right support in order to achieve their potential.

"While the above article identifies IT, marketing and design as key areas where entrepreneurs are seeking support, we would urge SMEs to not forget about the importance of having the right legal advice to hand. Growing a business inevitably creates issues which require legal support, particularly the expansion of a workforce, the need for new real estate space and advice on deals or access to finance.

"We would urge any small businesses thinking about movement into overseas markets to ensure they seek specialist advice which will ensure they are fully prepared for their future plans."
Steven Beahan, Partner