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Q2 2015 Earnings

July 28, 2015
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Business Monitor United States


Although concerned about the economy, small- and medium-sized business exporters are confident about their companies' futures, especially when it comes to international sales, according to this year's Business Monitor United States survey commissioned by UPS.

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.

Exporting SMBs are Resilient

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:

  • Have seen a significant impact on their overall sales (35%)
  • Aren't worried about achieving their goals (32%)
  • Feel they're running their business efficiently (46%)

SMBs Who Export Have a Plan

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.

Looking Beyond BRIC

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.

SMBs Still Have Trust Concerns

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.

Exporting Helps Drive Sales

More than one-third (35 percent) of small businesses said exporting had a significant impact on their overall sales.

Social Media: An Underleveraged Opportunity?

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.

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