New York (PRESS RELEASE – June 22, 2011) – International sales are a vital and growing part of the small and mid-sized business (SMB) market, according to a new study unveiled by Portfolio.com, the national business news site for SMB executives and entrepreneurs. Conducted by The Business Journals, the study concludes that nearly a quarter of American small businesses surveyed say some portion of their business sales came from overseas, while another six percent expect to join their ranks for a combined total of approximately one 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.
“International business 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 expansion strategies.”
SMB owners who are engaged internationally run businesses that, as a whole, do better than their counterparts that operate only in the United States. Those companies that have an international strategy reported average sales of $13.2 million and 32 percent sales growth, compared to $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 to 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 to 41 percent of total SMB owners. One-third of those doing business internationally, compared to 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.”
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 to 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 to the larger SMB owners with 59 percent using Facebook, 31 percent on LinkedIn and 15 percent on Twitter.
The study was conducted by The Business Journals from November 2010 to January 2011 and more than 2,223 SMB executives with 1-499 employees were interviewed. The focus of the report was on those companies with between 5-499 employees. Earlier this year, The Business Journals released its SMB Insights 2011 study, which provided an overview of the make-up, attitudes and economic landscape of the SMB market. Portfolio.com will be releasing new findings for specific categories through the end of the year. Most recently, Portfolio.com published findings from SMB Insights: Under 40, revealing how young entrepreneurs under the age of 40 are leveraging new technology, social media and the Internet to increase productivity and stay connected to their businesses and critical business information.
Portfolio.com is the national business news site for small and mid-sized business executives and entrepreneurs. Comprising original, in-depth reporting, thought-provoking insights, colorful features, exclusive analysis of custom research, and an intelligent business-news filtering tool, Portfolio.com is the first national business media outlet dedicated solely to delivering actionable news and information to this coveted audience. Portfolio.com relaunched in December 2009 as the information destination for business executives, insiders and strategists within the growing and profitable American City Business Journals.
About The Business Journals
The Business Journals is the premier media solutions platform for companies strategically targeting business decision makers. We deliver a total business audience of more than 10 million people via our 42 websites, 64 publications and more than 700 annual industry leading events.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., The Business Journals has sales offices in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. It is a subsidiary of American City Business Journals, a unit of Advance Publishing, Inc., whose properties include Conde Nast Publications and the Fairchild and Golf Digest Companies.