CHALLENGES FACING UK SMEs IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
In the UK, Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) are encouraged to develop overseas business for a variety of reasons, such as sourcing of products and components, seeking new markets and developing international partnerships. Although the UK government, industry leaders and professional bodies encourage international growth, SMEs themselves also recognise the need and benefits of trading in international markets. One of the major challenges facing SMEs, and particularly owner-managed business, is how to formulate their approach to international markets. This paper aims to establish key issues UK SMEs are facing in the process of trading internationally. The paper is based on qualitative research exploring the concept of ‘global mindsets’ and the extent to which this approach is applied in SMEs operating internationally. The research views the concept of a global mindset from a wide perspective and includes: awareness of global issues; knowledge about other countries and cultures; development of competencies and aptitudes needed for working in and operating a business in a global context; and SME responses to cultural perspectives (as managers, employees and customers). The level of awareness of needing deep local knowledge and cultural sensitivity in building good relationships with suppliers, distributors and customers is also discussed. The ‘soft skills’ that MNEs either recruit or develop amongst their international managers, are not readily available to SMEs. SMEs must therefore develop their own understanding of the skills required in order to build their organization’s capability. This research focuses on identifying the decisions and actions needed for SME international business development, including the resource implications and timescales needed to develop markets and build relationships.
Volume (Year): (2009)
Issue (Month): ()
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- Majocchi Antonio & Zucchella Antonella, 2001. "Internationalization and Performance: findings from a set of Italian SMEs," Economics and Quantitative Methods qf0110, Department of Economics, University of Insubria.
- Mika Gabrielsson & V H Manek Kirpalani & Pavlos Dimitratos & Carl Arthur Solberg & Antonella Zucchella, 2008. "Conceptualizations to Advance Born Global Definition," Global Business Review, International Management Institute, vol. 9(1), pages 45-50, June.
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