Go Global: Andrew Millard

What was the Go Global Mission, why did you support it and what were you hoping to achieve?

The Go Global mission was hugely inspiring. Enterprise Nation organised a seamless three day event with some extremely talented British small businesses in attendance. I was really very impressed with the energy and optimism of the companies that attended and the sense of determination across the board to get out there and explore new markets.

Go Global was announced at the Home Business Summit (attended by David Cameron) in August and was launched mid-air, during a flight from the UK to the US, on the 25th September.  It was the UK’s biggest ever small business trade mission, and saw 67 growing British businesses travel to New York to meet with Etsy, PayPal, eBay, Freelancers Union and Squarespace. The delegates also met with top entrepreneurs Judith Clegg and Heidi Messer, who shared their experiences of getting their businesses off the ground.

There’s never been a better time to consider growing your business outside the UK and exploring untapped markets. There’s an abundance of support out there, but we do hear from our customers that finding the right expertise is often the hardest part. That’s why we were delighted to be involved in the trade mission – to hear exactly what the challenges SMBs felt they were faced with and to demonstrate how access to the right communications tools and services can support businesses operating in international markets.

Why did you develop the research and what do you believe to be the most interesting findings?

The aim of the research was to understand how small businesses in the UK are growing and how they are exploiting other markets. We were also keen to raise awareness of why SMBs might not be fully exploring the potential of the global market and gauge their thoughts on what international trade means to their businesses.

We conducted the research with YouGov surveying 2,000 small businesses in the UK. The findings showed us that the future is looking bright with six out of ten UK SMBs anticipating that they will be doing business internationally by 2016 – a 20% increase on the number that are currently selling or sourcing products and services abroad. A fifth expect to increase the number of countries they trade with in that time, and over a quarter predict they will see more revenue from international sales by 2016.

Here are some additional insights:

  • Younger SMB managers are more positive on expectations for revenue growth (23% more likely to project growth) and expansion in numbers of countries they trade with (60% more likely)
  • Technology and marketing services companies are the most bullish on expectations for international expansion and revenue growth. Nearly four in ten (36%) IT and Telecoms SMBs expect to increase revenues from international sales by 2016, whilst over a third (34%) expect to increase the number of countries they trade with

What advice would you give to businesses looking to go global?

Firstly, don’t give up. I know it sounds like a cliché, but if you lack determination to trade internationally, you’ll never get out of the starting blocks.

In addition, from the research we’ve conducted, it’s clear that international trade and technology innovation are intrinsically linked. Those businesses that embrace technology and communications tools will be better equipped to build relationships with international partners and, therefore, improve their chances of developing strong global trade links.

Where do you think UK SMBs will look for growth opportunities and why?

Our research has shown that, whilst Europe and North America continue to dominate international trading relationships, at least one in ten UK SMBs say they are doing business outside of these markets. These SMBs in particular have grown up at a time when countries like China and India have become more viable trading partners and, as such, they are reaching out and seeking opportunities in these regions.

In addition, I think technology SMBs in particular have an opportunity to look at BRIC regions like Brazil, where new services, such as those in mobile, are being more widely adopted by consumers.

Can you provide details on a Citrix customer that is currently doing a great job in expanding their businesses, globally?

CritelliLaw, a global firm with fewer than 15 employees, has harnessed technology to bolster its legal practice and operate globally. By using the “proof of receipt” feature in Citrix ShareFile (our cloud-based file sharing and storage service), the company now has legal proof that digital files have been sent, received and opened – eradicating a cumbersome email process and speeding up approval time from weeks to just days. Video conferencing via Citrix GoToMeeting has helped the company to connect with employees remotely, whilst saving time and money.

CritelliLaw’s founder, Nick Critelli, says that his company uses GoToMeeting “to litigate in both the US and Europe, saving us time and money. It’s a great tool for us and without it I would spend half of my life on a plane. The face to face conversations and the ability to share documents on screen enable everyone in the meetings to communicate faster and more effectively. Embracing technology like this has helped us to keep the company small, focused, nimble and most importantly profitable.”

What does Citrix do?

Our mission is to enable flexible working and power business mobility by providing our customers with instant access to apps, desktops, and data across any device.

Most people know of GoToMeeting, which allows you to hold online meetings with HD video and screen-sharing with your colleagues, partners and customers wherever they may be based. We also have a number of other tools that improve ways of working including Cubefree, our app that aims to help people think outside the office cubicle and get down to business by locating nearby cafes and co-working spaces around the world that can be used to work remotely.

This year Citrix is celebrating 25 years of innovation, making IT simpler and people more productive. With annual revenue in 2013 of $2.9 billion, our solutions are in use at more than 330,000 organisations, and by over 100 million users, globally.