The DIT National Survey of Registered Businesses’ exporting behaviours, attitudes and needs 2017 report is out today and examines £500k+ small and medium business. Whilst the report is stuffed full of data, perhaps the most interesting takeaway is which size businesses the DIT are most interested in giving help to to grow their exports. This indicates that if your business is their target size then you should be approaching them as they will be highly motivated to assist you with exporting help.
Exporting is Great campaign
The DIT’s main Exporting is GREAT campaign is designed to help business kick start exporting and has a myriad of online resources and advisors ready and willing to advise all sizes of business.
Has the Exporting is GREAT campaign reached all sizes of business?
The DIT report that Exporting is GREAT recall was fairly consistent across each of the company size groups and stood at 48% among the total population of £500k+ turnover businesses. However, there are signs that businesses with a turnover of £500k to £2m were less likely to see the adverts as being relevant to them than those with a higher turnover.
If you’re in the bucket that view the adverts as less relevant, it might be time to reassess the Exporting is GREAT opportunities and engage with the DIT to find out how they can help you.
What the DIT say
“Although Micro businesses (with 1 to 9 employees) make up 89.4% of all UK registered businesses, their small size means that they account for a much lower proportion of the total turnover of UK registered businesses (15.2%). Accordingly, they offer (on average) less scope for growth in the value of the UK export market. The limited size of these businesses also means that they are less likely to have the capacity to cater for large contracts overseas. As such, while they are an absolutely vital part of the UK economy, they are not a focus of this report.”
Micro businesses are incredibly agile and are probably selling on marketplaces and as such eBay and Amazon will likely be their best route to export. While a Micro business may be too small for the DIT’s attention, the marketplaces themselves have a ton of assistance to help them export and realistically, although not exclusively, they are often too small to fully exploit overseas marketplaces such as Alibaba, Flipkart and Rakuten in countries like China, India and Japan due to the regulatory requirements and investment needed.
What the DIT say
“Large businesses (with 250 or more employees) account for only 0.4% of all registered businesses but 58.5% of the total turnover of UK businesses. As such, they are highly important to the UK economy. However, given their scale they are also more likely to have made informed decisions about whether or not to pursue exporting and are not therefore a focus for this report.”
Large businesses may already be exporting, but often within these businesses there are small teams specifically tasked to grow marketplace business. Depending on the support at board level, these teams often operate independently and could be viewed as a medium business in their own right. With this in mind, whilst the DIT may be correct to exclude these business, if you lead a marketplace team in a large business with a desire to expand overseas then you should definitely approach the DIT for assistance.
Small and Medium businesses
What the DIT say
“Our focus in this report is on the 231,715 Small businesses (with 10-49 employees) and the 40,530 Medium businesses (with 50-249 employees) which collectively account for 10.2% of UK registered businesses and 26.3% of registered business turnover.
Medium businesses account for a slightly higher proportion of total turnover than Small businesses (14.4% and 11.9% respectively). However, the inverse applies to their contribution in terms of employment (14.6% for Small businesses and 13.2% for Medium businesses).
These businesses are of a scale where they have the potential to add significantly to the value of UK exports, but are not so large that they will always have already seriously looked into exporting.”
If your business is Small or Medium with anywhere between 10 and 249 employees then the DIT believe you are a prime candidate for assistance to significantly grow through exporting. The DIT found that businesses with a turnover between £500k and £2m are more likely to believe they don’t have the resources to focus on exporting so are particularly keen to target you for assistance if your business is in that range.
Realistically, the DIT want to put the most focus on business where they can make the greatest impact. That means that micro businesses and large businesses may not be specifically targeted (although of course if they approach the DIT assistance is still available). If you are a Small or Medium business you can expect the DIT to increase their efforts to make you aware of Exporting is GREAT and if you approach them then you’re likely to be welcomed with open arms.
Will 2018 be your year for significant overseas expansion? If it is, make sure you get all the exporting help you can and the place to start will be the Exporting is GREAT website.