Of the small- and medium-sized business exporters interviewed, 85 percent said the economy was their top concern, far exceeding their worries about any other issue. However, most respondents indicated they remained positive about their businesses and their international sales opportunities. More than three-quarters (78 percent) said they were confident international sales leads would materialize
The survey results offer insights from small business exporters – their perceptions on the outlook of global trade, the effect of global expansion on small- and medium-sized businesses' bottom line and international threats and opportunities – that can help those small- and medium-sized businesses not already participating go global. With the president's recent announcement of a National Export Initiative, it's more important than ever to understand the pain points of small business exporters. By addressing those pain points, we can help our nation's small business exporters be even more efficient and productive – thereby helping them better compete in today's global business environment.
BMUS data showed the resiliency of SMBs that are engaging in global trade – which is quite compelling considering the state of the global economy. Specifically, these SMBs:
The survey found that most small businesses (61 percent) expanded into foreign markets with a sound plan, and few (11 percent) reported having frustration with doing business abroad.
BMUS data showed that one-third (36 percent) of respondents preferred Europe as the continent they would most like to expand to in the future.
When it comes to international sales leads, four in five businesses (81 percent) follow up on all leads. Those that didn't follow up say that trust issues (67 percent) were their biggest concern.
More than one-third (35 percent) of small businesses said exporting had a significant impact on their overall sales.
Despite the entrepreneurial nature of small-business owners, the BMUS revealed they may not be making the most of social media. About one-quarter (24 percent) of respondents say they've received sales leads from social media, far behind word of mouth, networking events, sponsorships and advertising. And, just 1 percent cited it as the factor that, besides marketing communications, helped their business grow the most.