A survey shows that 65 percent of SMB internationals use Facebook, 40 percent use LinkedIn and 23 percent use Twitter.
International sales are a
vital and growing part of the market for small to midsize businesses, according
to a study conducted by The Business
The study found that nearly a quarter of U.S. small firms
surveyed said some portion of their business sales came from overseas, while
another 6 percent expect to join their ranks-for a combined total of
approximately 1 million SMB owners who will be engaged in international sales
in the near future.
The report, which details
the role and characteristics of SMB owners who are engaged in international
sales, also projects that SMB international sales will increase to $2 trillion
from $1.7 trillion as more SMB owners look overseas for sales.
isn't just for multinational corporations anymore. With the power of Internet
sales engines and the reach of mobile devices, smaller businesses and
entrepreneurs in the United States are able to extend their reach beyond our
borders," said J. Jennings Moss, Portfolio.com's
editor. "These business people, and they're a growing number, see tremendous
opportunities for sales growth overseas, and advances in technology have given
them a cost-effective and efficient channel to drive their international
SMB owners who are engaged
internationally run businesses that, as a whole, do better than their
counterparts that operate only in the United States. Companies that have an
international strategy reported average sales of $13.2 million and 32 percent
sales growth, compared with $7.7 million in average sales and 20 percent sales
growth for all SMB owners. Additionally, SMB internationals are more likely to
be involved in manufacturing-23 percent of SMB internationals, compared with 14
percent of SMB owners in total.
According to the study, over
half of SMB owners involved in international business are exporting goods, with
62 percent selling products and services over the Internet, compared with 41
percent of total SMB owners. One-third of those doing business internationally,
compared with 25 percent of all SMB owners, are considered mobile
professionals-those who work out of the office more than 30 percent of the time
and believe that wireless services and applications are extremely critical.
"The Internet has had an enormous
impact on how SMB owners are doing businesses internationally, with 79 percent
relying on the Internet as one of their most valuable business tools," said
Godfrey Phillips, vice president for research at The Business Journals.
"At the same time, our study illustrates
that SMB internationals are using cutting-edge technology and products to a
greater degree than SMB owners at large, with 59 percent of them staying
connected to their businesses on their computers, smartphones or iPads for more
than eight hours a day."
The survey found social
networks are another prevalent business tool, with 58 percent of SMBs that do
business overseas incorporating social networks as part of their business
marketing programs, compared with the 49 percent of total SMB owners. Within
the SMB internationals, 65 percent use Facebook, 40 percent use LinkedIn and 23
percent use Twitter, compared with the larger SMB owners with 59 percent using
Facebook, 31 percent on LinkedIn and 15 percent on Twitter.
The Business Journals
conducted the study from November 2010 to January
2011, and more than 2,223 SMB executives with one to 499 employees were
interviewed. The focus of the report was on companies with between five and 499