The UK wide survey, carried out by Trends Research, of 1400 small and medium businesses found that 80% are failing to embrace the global marketplace with just over a quarter considering themselves too small to trade with partners from outside the UK. Cultural and language barriers coupled with trust issues were also cited as the main drawbacks.
Maggie Choo, Alibaba.com said: “Small businesses believe that they are ill equipped to compete in the global marketplace but in fact the opposite is true. The internet has opened up a host of opportunities for businesses, however small, to reach out, connect and trade easily and securely online. It is crucial that they take advantage of technology advances such as e-commerce platforms if they are to remain competitive.”
An astonishing 89 per cent of small businesses spend up to £1,000 each time they review a supplier relationship, with over 30 per cent of businesses conducting this review on a quarterly basis.
The research also highlighted that whilst nearly two thirds of businesses believing that a regular review of suppliers is vital to remaining competitive, one in five admitted to sitting back and waiting for companies to come to them.
Choo continues: “Time and money are one of the most valuable commodities for any business and it is essential to make the best possible use of both if an organisation is to trade profitably. It is a daunting time for small businesses which often operate with small teams and limited resources. Our research highlighted that 13% of small businesses face more time pressures than ever before as a result of recent redundancies. Without a dedicated supply chain, owner managers can find themselves forever managing partners, instead of focusing on driving revenue.”
Sir Andrew Cahn, chief executive of UK Trade & Investment, said: “Small businesses need not be cut off from the global marketplace or feel that international business is only for big companies. In fact for many smaller firms, trading abroad can be the path to greater success and growth. Countries in the Far East are experiencing rapid growth and British goods, in virtually every sector, are in demand for their quality and sophistication. The rewards of international business can catapult a business into becoming a large one very quickly indeed.”