SMEs held back by ‘lack of business knowledge’, says study

New research suggests that as many as three quarters of Britain’s Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) feel that their ‘lack of business knowledge and experience’ is holding them back – particularly when it comes to exploring new markets.

The study, recently highlighted by Business Matters magazine, found that the majority of SMEs have a ‘limited understanding’ of local markets – and even less understanding of overseas trade or multinational markets.

A large number of SMEs said that complicated regulations and business red tape were holding them back from exploring new markets and expanding their business.

This is despite the fact that, of those businesses that were already active in new markets and exporting to other countries, 73 per cent said that international trade was crucial to their firms’ future growth.

Mark Emmerson, of HSBC bank, said: “Perception is often worse than reality when it comes to exporting… once they take that first step, many SMEs find that it isn’t as difficult as they had feared. What’s needed is reassurance and guidance through those early days.

“Britain is full of dynamic entrepreneurs who want to look beyond their own borders but amid Brexit uncertainty, they’re struggling to see how it can be done.

“What’s more, they often feel the resources they need can be hard to find. Encouraging exports is a win-win for the British economy and its small businesses… there is a clear need for both Government, banks and businesses to do more to give SMEs the bespoke support they need to flourish globally”.