Many small businesses lack the resources to make their voices heard in an increasingly competitive global marketplace, so I'm proud to announce DHL's sponsorship of Small Business Sunday (#SBS), a competition on social media that gives SMEs some much-needed publicity in the online sphere.
By tweeting former "Dragon" Theo Paphitis each Sunday, SMEs can put their company forward for an #SBS retweet to his 400,000+ followers, providing an opportunity for them to gain crucial exposure that can boost their profile and their sales. The endorsement of a celebrated SME champion is also tremendously valuable, not to mention encouraging.
SMEs need every measure of support and encouragement available to them, and whilst publicity and marketing of this kind are especially important for early-stage SMEs, exporting and looking to expand into new markets is also a key consideration for businesses. Our research has shown that firms that export internationally are twice as likely to be successful than those that operate only in their domestic market, and growth in overseas sales is set to increase four times faster than domestic. The advantages of exporting range from spreading your customer base and reducing risk to exploiting the foreign demand for 'Brand Britain' and British-made or designed goods, thus ramping up sales. The right foreign trade can lead to a wealth of new opportunities and valuable experience for any small business.
Schemes like Small Business Sunday really can be a tremendous boost to SMEs, and are therefore very heartening to be involved with, but there is always the need for more. I believe that DHL's role as a leading global logistics company is about much more than delivering parcels and packages from one place to another - it's about guiding businesses through the entire process. Our sponsorship of #SBS is thus a part of our ongoing commitment to supporting small businesses in all aspects of their operations. As DHL operates in over 220 countries worldwide, we are also able to offer expert advice on international trade, while ensuring that our customers and their customers in turn are satisfied every step of the way.
With language, currency and legal barriers, we appreciate that exporting can seem a daunting prospect, especially to small teams that are already often over-stretched. That's why we want to be there to help at this crucial growth stage, just as an #SBS re-tweet can help kick things off at the beginning.
There are a number of free online resources for SMEs looking to export, and I would point business owners to the specific advice on foreign markets, customs regulations, tax and potential partnerships that can be found through the UKTI and the British Chambers of Commerce. These will all help SMEs navigate the minefield of international trade and break into lucrative foreign markets.