Micro businesses in the UK are reaping the rewards of being “born global”, according to new research* commissioned by FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp (FDX), and the world’s largest express transportation company. Nearly four in five (78%) of UK micro-multinationals feel international trade is just as accessible for small businesses.
Micro-multinationals are small, entrepreneurial businesses that complement domestic operations by opening offices or hiring staff in one or more overseas markets. In the UK, 40% of micro-multinationals have opened offices in new markets in the last five years—one of the highest rates in the world—while three in 10 have increased overseas employee numbers. The UK is also leading the way in international recruitment, finding it easier than any other country to source talent in other markets.
“Our research shows that confidence in overseas opportunities is increasing in the UK, with more than half of those surveyed perceiving that being a micro-multinational gives them a greater advantage over single market SMEs,” says Martin Davidian, managing director, Sales, UK North and Ireland, FedEx Express. “By providing a greater understanding of the benefits available to UK micro-multinationals, we can help break down the barriers for entry and further strengthen the economy.”
In a world-wide context, 31% of micro-multinationals are growing at a rate of 11% or more, compared to just 21% of SMEs in the same position. Different skill sets, technological benefits and lower overheads were listed by UK micro-multinationals as the top three factors contributing to this superior performance. Additionally, when asked to describe themselves, the words “innovative”, “entrepreneurial” topped the list, with over half of UK micro-multinationals using these descriptors.
Globally, all micro-multinationals believe having a presence in multiple markets makes it easier to sell goods cross-border, with more claiming it is easier to operate internationally now than it was in 2010.
“With a wealth of benefits for the taking, becoming a micro-multinational is certainly something SMEs should consider,” says Davidian. “Micro businesses have the agility to respond quickly to market changes, which is more essential than ever in today’s connected world.
“Innovation has always been stimulated by international trade, so as logistics experts, it’s vital we are primed to help businesses of all sizes take advantage of global opportunities. UK micro-multinationals are no exception, and equipped with the right support could change the face of global business as we know it.”