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Whilst 'Great Britain' is currently riding a strong wave of inward investment from foreign businesses and investors, I wonder if British companies are doing enough to anticipate and respond to new commercial opportunities worldwide? Why do fewer than 20% of companies trade overseas?

In these days of 'born global', even start-up companies are able to trade internationally, aided by low-cost airline travel and broadband technology. In my view, there is really no better time to have an international perspective.

However, whilst it is easier than ever before to trade overseas, I would question whether many SMEs have the desire or confidence to do so. Do they want to take the risks which come with international trade or is it simply easier to focus on domestic markets? Many companies find themselves trading overseas quite by chance rather than through any clear plan – even though research shows that businesses that research and plan their activities generally achieve greater success.

We've found that being a consultancy with an international outlook has enhanced our reputation. Having a global perspective has enabled us to bring fresh thinking and access new best practice knowledge for our clients' benefit.

Perhaps one way in which to encourage more business owners to think and act globally, is to raise awareness of export opportunities in 'easier' first markets where there are fewer language, cultural and travel barriers. I also believe there is a need for business organisations to bring together those of us who have experience of trading overseas with those who are considering it for the first time. There is much to be gained from shared experiences...

An extract from an article published in Platinum Business Magazine