Logistics Know How

SMEs: Overcoming the challenges of expanding your business internationally

At Twill many of our customers are SMEs, and we spend a lot of time making sure we understand your position in the global market and the challenges you face. Here, we outline some of the main challenges SMEs face when they expand their business to new international markets.

Trine Storgaard Nielsen, 21 May 2022

As a small or medium enterprise (SME), you may not fully appreciate your business's importance. Not just to the economy of your local city or country, but potentially to other parts of the world. You might be surprised to find out that your business and other SMEs like yours represent 95% of all companies.

Despite this, SMEs often find it difficult to expand their businesses internationally. Only 25% of EU-based SMEs (1) export to other EU countries, and an even smaller portion export beyond the EU borders.

However, this doesn’t need to be the case since there is potential for SMEs to bring their business internationally. For example, outside the EU, a sample of companies from 17 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and Brazil showed that SMEs account for 60% of total employment (2).

As well as generating employment, stronger participation from SMEs in global markets can create incredible opportunities to scale up, accelerate innovation and sustain competitive economies (3).

What’s stopping you from expanding your business internationally?

At Twill, more than 95% of our customers are SMEs, and we spend a lot of time ensuring we understand your position in the global market and the challenges you face – whether that’s operations, outsourcing, or warehousing and logistics.

Setting up a new company, or expanding internationally, is a big task. Firstly, you must research to ensure customers in your new market are interested in buying what you are selling. The next challenge is to find reliable partners for transportation, logistic, warehousing and the supply chain. They might not always be based in the country you’re looking to import/export. However, once you find them, they will become important to your company's success as it grows.

At Twill, we know that a lack of knowledge and experience regarding documentation and regulation can be a major barrier for SMEs. For example, if you are based in the UK and want to export to Brazil, you need to understand that country's local regulations and laws. This isn’t always easy since every country has its own specific regulations. It can be time-consuming research to get all the necessary answers you need.

In addition, these regulations and laws are constantly changing, so keeping on top of updates can be difficult if you tackle them independently.

Finally, the challenge is to be cost-effective without sacrificing quality. As an SME, you naturally don’t have the same resources available to large multi-national companies – but that doesn’t mean you need to miss out.

How Twill can help expand your business internationally

Right from the start, Twill was created to help SMEs. Our business was designed to help and service our core market - business owners like yourself, with common challenges such as logistics, operations, transportation and warehousing. We can help you break through barriers you might be facing.

When working with us, you’re getting more than a platform – you get to work with an award-winning team that will follow your cargo from A to B across its entire journey. We keep abreast of changes to regulations and documentation required around the world. We will guide you through the entire process and let you know when your approval is required or when you need to sign a document.

Through our platform, every booking has its own ‘digital clock’ making sure your cargo hits the right milestone at the right time throughout the transportation journey. As a client, you have direct access and can see those milestones 24/7.

Regarding the cost, our price transparency approach ensures that the price you’re quoted when booking is the price you will pay when your cargo safely arrives. There are no surprises, and we’ll always be in touch well in advance if there are any changes.

SMEs inspire change by doing international business

As you read at the start of this article, you may think of yourself and your business as a tiny player in the scheme of our global economy – like a small fish in a very big pond. But the truth is, as an SME, you play a huge part in the international economy, and together with other SMEs, you are the biggest fish!

After all, it is you as a business owner and your company’s needs that accelerate and inspire the innovators of our world – in logistics, supply chain, shipping and beyond. You deserve the best transportation service for your growing business – to assist you in going global!

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Articles referenced in the text: 

  1. https://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/access-to-markets_en

  2. https://www.wto.org/english/res_e/booksp_e/world_trade_report16_e.pdf

  3. https://www.oecd.org/cfe/smes/ministerial/documents/2018-SME-Ministerial-Conference-Plenary-Session-3.pdf

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