Small and medium-sized businesses which export, believe international sales will increase in the next 12 months, according to new research by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks.
The survey also suggests, perhaps more encouragingly, that approximately 364,000 SMEs which currently do not export, intend to start selling their goods and services internationally in the next year.
In total, exporting businesses are anticipating international sales to make up 22% of their total annual turnover and more than half expect sales to increase in the same period.
Whilst the strengthening of the pound has presented more challenging trading conditions, the optimism among businesses is encouraging, with only a small proportion (1%) of all SMEs, expecting their exposure to overseas markets to decrease.
Across the UK, businesses in the East Midlands and London are feeling most bullish and more likely to start exporting. More than one in ten (12%) of SMEs in both regions expect to start international sales drives in the next 12 months.
That optimism is matched by construction (11%), transport (11%) and food and drink (14%) businesses who are the most ambitious and will start exporting.
The survey also shows that it is larger businesses in the SME bracket (100-249 employees), who are more likely to embark on international sales for the first time with around one in ten businesses which currently don’t export, expecting to start this year.
Paul Shephard, Director for Business and Private banking at Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, said:
“In recent years the challenging conditions in our economy have pushed UK businesses towards more buoyant overseas markets for growth.
“British businesses have a rich and proud heritage of producing goods and expertise which are instantly recognised for their quality across the world. We have always looked to innovate and trade beyond our borders.
“However, we know that many of those companies who require investment to assist their growth in overseas markets are exporting services and technology, and possibly don’t have traditional bricks and mortar to borrow against. We understand this, and our approach ensures we recognise all aspects of the business, including their intangible assets, when looking at providing support.”
Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks has strengthened its support for UK SMEs by becoming the first to partner with the British Business Bank under its ENABLE Guarantees scheme. Up to £125m of new lending by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, will help more small businesses achieve their growth ambitions.