According to one of the country’s leading global logistics providers catering for SMEs, Aramex, small and medium-sized businesses in the UK are increasingly turning to international markets to seek out new growth opportunities despite ongoing economic uncertainty.

The prospect to diversify revenue streams in new and emerging markets is indeed becoming an attractive option for UK businesses, with HSBC estimating last year that around 450,000 brands have ambitions to seize international opportunities.

While international trading has the potential to open doors to new dimensions of possibility and enhanced growth, the pathway to global expansion can also be fraught with complex and multifarious challenges.

According to Umar Butt, Regional CEO of Europe at Aramex, although there is growing confidence amongst SMEs to turn their gaze towards international markets, there still remain numerous barriers to entry, namely an understanding of the regulatory landscape in each market and a lack of awareness of the latest customs tariffs, which businesses need to be mindful of.

Umar Butt commented: “Despite economic uncertainty and ongoing geopolitical turbulence there remains a strong air of positivity from UK businesses regarding propelling their plans to trade internationally this year which is great to see. However, businesses ultimately need to be aware of the intricacies involved in international trade as without a solid level of understanding, or the right consultative advice to hand, such misgivings can lead to issues ranging from operational disruptions as a result of delays, to significant financial losses.

For instance, each market has its own set of import and export regulations, which to the untrained eye can be difficult to understand. Without a thorough grasp of these rules, businesses run the risk of delays, fines, or even having their goods rejected at the border. The same applies with customs charges, which can vary from country to country and can quickly change due to trade agreements or geopolitical shifts.

“Staying up to date with regulatory changes and tariff adjustments is fundamental, but this can equally be particularly challenging for small businesses with limited resources. By partnering with experienced logistics partners, businesses can offload these complexities and will be given the right support that will enable them to navigate these challenges effectively, while also ensuring that regulatory compliance is maintained, and customs charges are accurately accounted for.”

Looking to the future, there is growing optimism surrounding the prospect of trading internationally as businesses seek out new ways to drive profit and source customer pools.

Umar continued: “From our own analysis, we are seeing a swelling volume of small businesses becoming increasingly motivated by the potential for market diversification and revenue growth. This optimism has largely been driven by a predisposition to tap into new customer bases and reduce dependency on a single market by diversifying revenue streams and finding fresh ways to improve their bottom line.

“Equally, increasing consumer confidence in purchasing goods from overseas businesses, lucrative opportunities presented by new trade deals, and improved logistics and supply chain solutions have all played an individual role in encouraging small businesses to broaden their horizons beyond just the UK market.

“While there are still obstacles in place, it’s clear that achieving sustainable and successful global expansion is becoming far more accessible for SMEs, especially when leveraging the expertise of experienced logistics providers, and we are excited to see more brands turn to international markets in the coming years as confidence continues to grow.”

Source: aramex