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Changing Small-and Medium-Sized Businesses' Perception of Global Trade

Small Business Exports Can Lead to Economic Growth

UPS conducted the “Perceptions of Global Trade” survey of more than 1,000 small-and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to gauge the segment’s interest and involvement in exports. What we found was an opportunity to educate SMBs on the potential benefits of expanding to international markets.

The U.S. National Export Initiative is priming SMBs to take advantage of these circumstances by eliminating trade barriers and increasing access to export financing. Three new free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama recently went into effect.

To help smooth the transition into global commerce, SMBs can connect with similar businesses that have already successfully engaged in international trade. And there is a lot of encouraging information to share: 64% of SMBs that already export saw a financial return within two years, and 34% saw a financial return in less than six months.

Most of the companies surveyed found success doing business with Canada, Mexico, the UK and Australia – countries where free or bilateral trade agreements between the U.S. already exist. While nations such as Brazil, Russia, India and China do not have free trade agreements with the U.S, they represent another opportunity for small businesses because these countries have a growing middle class with money to spend.

Resources to Help SMBs Go Global

Finding international partners and financing are two of the biggest hurdles SMBs face when it comes to exports. The U.S. Commercial Service offers programs to help small-and medium-sized business owners locate potential business partners, such as buyers or distributors overseas, and obtain financing.

SMBs can receive free expert business counseling from SCORE and the UPS Global Trade website. GlobeTrade offers important insights and practical advice to help small businesses go global.

Get a snapshot of the realities of global trade

Learn more about the benefits of exporting

Article Highlights

  • Free trade agreements with Canada and Mexico help eliminate trade barriers for SMBs
  • 34% of SMBs who export saw a financial return in less than six months

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