Exporting is GREAT: Broaden your horizons
Video games in Brazil, naval security around the Horn of Africa, and soundtracks for German TV: British SMEs are everywhere.
There is a strong motivation for them to do so: 86% of companies say that exporting has allowed them to achieve a level of growth that would not have otherwise been possible, according to the government’s trade agency, UK Trade & Investment. The CBI estimates that businesses are 11% more likely to survive if they export.
Europe and the USA remain Britain’s two largest trading partners, drawing in 60% of exports. However, companies have also been increasingly tapping higher growth markets.
London business Green Man Gaming is among them. Founded by chief executive Paul Sulyok in 2009, this firm's video game trading platform has already proved popular in Europe, the USA, and Australia.
Our main focus for Green Man Gaming was internationalisation
Sulyok is taking the company further afield: “The main focus for Green Man Gaming in 2014 was internationalisation. We have already expanded into Russia and China, India and Brazil [were] our priorities for 2015 due to their rapidly developing technological infrastructures, and the increased awareness of videogames in their culture,” he says.
That’s not to diminish from the importance of Europe and the US. London-based online music library Audio Network, which generated two thirds of its 2014 sales of £15.4m overseas, plans to capitalise on opportunities in these markets in particular.
“We expect to continue to drive growth from the 120 countries where we already have users”, says Audio Network co-founder and CEO Robert Hurst. He adds: “Our growth strategy for the next three years also taps into the particular strength of the US and German television and video production markets. These markets share the same demands for high standards of creativity, quality, and service which have underpinned both our domestic and international growth over the 14 years since our incorporation”.
Our US business has grown exponentially in the past 2 years
Another overseas success story that plans to prioritise the US for future growth is Kinapse, which provides advisory services to the global life sciences sector. Andy Black, the company’s co-founder and CEO, says: “Our US business has grown exponentially in the past 2 years and we want to further build on those successes by strengthening our local leadership and global delivery model for US clients”.
Kinapse, which works with nine of the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies, is also planning to build on strong demand from Japan. “The Japanese market continues to be very important to global pharmaceutical companies, with 10 of the top 50 companies headquartered in the country,” says Black, who adds that Japan provides a long-term investment opportunity for his company.
Hereford’s Ambrey Risk provides former military personnel to protect ships from pirates, around the Horn of Africa and elsewhere. John Thompson, one of the company’s co-founders, stresses that opportunities can be found everywhere. He says: “We have always been of the view that there is opportunity in any market, regardless of the stage of the cycle as long as you take a pragmatic and innovative approach to meeting client need.”