FSB reports growing export ambition of small businesses


According to the latest research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the number of small businesses looking to export goods and services is at its highest ever level. The FSB’s quarterly business index found that almost a quarter (24 per cent) of FSB Members anticipate an increase in exports over the next quarter.

As the current account deficit in the UK reached an all time high in December 2013, narrowing the export gap is more important than ever and the role played by small firms in this is critical.

To encourage and support more companies to export, the FSB would like UKTI to focus its efforts not only on tailoring and promoting their services to small and micro businesses, but also to make more of an effort to let SME’s know that these services exist.

Only half of current members who export are even aware of the services offered by UKTI. Ultimately this involves a longer term move towards a Small Business Export Support Department within a UK Small Business Administration (SBA).

Of 9,000 small businesses recently surveyed by the FSB, manufacturing is the sector most likely to export (42%), followed by Wholesale trade (41%), Research and Development (36%), Engineering (34%) and digital/telecoms businesses (25%).

Findings of another FSB report recently revealed that fluctuating exchange rates (35%), difficulty finding customers (24%), and a lack of finance/working capital (23%) were the main barriers to exporting.

Commenting on the research John Allan, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Small businesses will have a major part to play if the Government is to meet its challenging targets for 100,000 new exporters and to double the value of exports by 2020. Starting to export is a big step for small firms.  They therefore need tailored advice and support which will allow them to overcome the barriers to exporting that have been repeatedly identified by our surveys. There is also a major job to be done to raise awareness of the support UKTI offers small firms thinking of starting the export journey.”

“The UK’s export strategy must focus on matching a company’s export potential to the right overseas market. The majority of our members still export to the eurozone but are increasingly looking to other dynamic markets such as China for opportunities.”

Posted by the Secret Businessman