Find international distributors with PartnerTrack & expand into new markets.

SMEs wary of exporting due to limited capacity & capability


A new report from the Department for International Trade has found that a large portion of British small and medium-sized businesses aren’t open to exporting their products due to a lack of confidence in their own capacity and capability.

The research, which quizzed firms with annual turnovers of over £500,000, found that smaller businesses are less likely to look at exporting as an option compared to larger companies, despite 73% saying they believe that demand for British products and services is strong across the globe.

A quarter even said they were unsure where to go for export consultancy, support or international trade consultancy.

A lack of ambition despite a growing exporting trend?

Whilst it’s admirable for some SMEs to candidly state their own lack of current capacity to begin exporting into new territories, perhaps the most disappointing fact is that 25% say they don’t know where to turn to get the expert support they need to grow through exports.

This is especially true when you take into account the latest analysis released from HMRC this month which found that the number of businesses exporting from the UK has increased over 4% since last year, with the average sales value for each exporter so far in 2018 valued at £750,000.

Here’s a breakdown by country:

Goods exports from England increased by 6.5% to £244.6 billion
Goods exports from Scotland increased by 12.1% to £28.8 billion
Goods exports from Wales increased by 7.1% to £16.4 billion
Goods exports from Northern Ireland increased by 4.9% to £8.5 billion

International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox said of the figures that: “As we continue our path to Brexit, HMRC’s latest figures clearly show every part of the UK making the most of global opportunities as goods exports rise across the country. More than 100,000 businesses are expanding their horizons and making the most of the demand for quality British goods.”

Getting the right advice from research to implementation


The combined data from HMRC and DIT suggest two things; UK companies are increasingly interested in exporting and the opportunities it offers, but some are still wary about their own ability to export and finding the right advice.

Read more: British business beyond the Customs Union

That’s where experts like Go Exporting can really make a difference for firms that do have a great product or service offering, ambitions for their business to take it overseas but just need the right guidance, support and international knowledge.

More exporting news & advice