Small Businesses look abroad for business boost in 2011

New research out today from O2 reveals that over 1.9 million* UK small businesses (40%) are set to move into international markets over the next year, with a third claiming overseas economies are increasingly more welcoming to small businesses than here in the UK.

The survey of UK small business owners supports O2’s recent launch of International Favourites, a call package that includes an innovative ‘Call Me’ landline number, which enables small businesses to have a number in one of 42 countries. The service allows small businesses to create a presence abroad without having to set up additional offices.  As a result their overseas customers, suppliers and business contacts can then call their O2 mobile without paying international call charges.  With 43% of businesses saying that they would need a presence abroad to make their business a success, O2 International Favourites directly addresses this key issue.

These latest figures paint a more positive picture than 2010, with a fifth saying that they had been forced to say no to opportunities abroad over the course of the last twelve months. When asked the target destinations for business growth, the further afield the better, with six out of the top ten markets being outside Europe:

1 United States ‘ 33%

2 Germany ‘ 28%

3 France ‘ 25%

4 Australia ‘ 20%

6= Netherlands ‘ 15%

6= Spain ‘ 15%

8= Brazil ‘ 14%

8= Canada ‘ 14%

10= Hong Kong ‘ 13%

10= New Zealand -13%

Simon Devonshire, Head of Small Business Marketing at O2, said: ‘These latest statistics highlight just how many small businesses are looking to move into overseas markets in the next year and through International Favourites we aim to provide a platform for this expansion. At O2 we are passionate about helping small businesses succeed and International Favourites is a great testimony to how we listen to our customers to tailor our offerings, flexing with their ever changing needs and providing the best possible service.’

For more information on International Favourites please visit www.o2.co.uk/business/if

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*Figure based on latest statistics from The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (released October 2010) stating an estimated 4.8 million private sector enterprises in the UK