Survey discovers the barriers that SME’s see to exporting

Regulatory and/or legal issues are seen by 30% of Small and Medium Enterprises [SME’s] as the biggest barriers to exporting, while not far behind are ‘language barriers’, which will be the subject of the next article.

These results are from a survey of Small and Medium Enterprises [SME’s] in late January this year by polling firm YouGov for QuoteSearcher, a niche insurance specialist. The survey found that,

barriers-graph30% of SMEs feel that regulatory and/or legal issues are the biggest barriers to exporting abroad. [Click on chart to expand]

The second most popular answer amongst SME decision makers as to why they may struggle to export their products and/or services was ‘the cost of exports (e.g. tax, administration fees etc.)’ at 17%. Only 2% cited ‘cultural differences’ as a barrier.

Professor Simon Down, Deputy Dean for Research and Enterprise, Anglia Ruskin University says about this finding,

“I’m not surprised by these feelings, in fact through previous research I have conducted into regulations I found that nearly any business person in most circumstances would always point to these issues. Digging deeper however, I have also noticed over the years that “regulations” can sometimes be a “moan factor” – in some circumstances regulations aren’t always that tough but businesses still tend to lament them.”

“The same applies when it comes to hiring staff from outside the UK – many feel that regulations are a barrier even when it comes to hiring within the EU, however sometimes this is not always the case.”

The survey found that the views of SME’s in financial services, and real estate sectors, at 48% and 56% respectively, saw regulatory and/or legal issues to be a barrier to exporting. Both are sectors in which such factors predominate, so learning to overcome them will help SME’s succeed.

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