New research from flexible workspace provider Regus demonstrates that exporters are reporting significantly stronger company performances than their domestic-only counterparts, even as the UK economy returns to growth.
The poll of nearly 2,200 business owners and senior managers reveals that 56% of exporters have chalked up profit growth over the last year compared to only 46% of firms trading domestically. Similarly, 63% of internationally trading firms increased their revenues compared to 51% of domestic firms.
Respondents in the research emphasised that success overseas is greatly enhanced by having a physical presence in their target markets. Three quarters of firms report that being close to the customer helps them solve problems quicker, increase customer satisfaction and overall retention rates. Seven in ten firms say that an overseas presence helps them gain a better understanding of customers and markets.
Asked about the type of government initiatives that best support businesses planning foreign expansion, companies cited advice on legal and regulatory matters (60%), followed by introductions to local business associations (49%) and advice on taxation (36%).
John Spencer, UK CEO at Regus comments: “Amidst intensifying debate over Britain’s role in the EU, this research serves as a timely reminder of the importance of foreign trade links for business. Companies that export perform better than those that do not, whether that’s simply because they have a wider prospect base or because they are able to shift their focus to markets where demand for their products or services is growing.
“People always talk about ‘getting close to the customer’, and in export markets that can be literally true. Yet we know from previous research that a third of firms believe the biggest obstacle to overseas expansion is the challenge of setting up a physical presence in a foreign country. We are seeing high demand from British exporters for on-demand services such as Virtual Offices and business lounges that allow them to contain costs and minimise risk whilst establishing a credible presence rapidly, anywhere across the globe.”
Regus is the world’s largest provider of flexible workspaces with 2000 locations across 103 countries. Google, Twitter, Toshiba Europe and TomTom all use the Regus network to expand into new markets, as well as thousands of SMEs.