With an increasingly interconnected world and growing international marketplace, many companies are searching for opportunities at a global level. Businesses are looking to expand overseas for many reasons—stagnant economies at home, desired growth in their customer base, or even the pursuit for higher profit margins. Whatever the case may be, these businesses are becoming very important for the global economy. Surprisingly enough, not all of these businesses are large multinational firms. In fact, there is a recent trend where small businesses are beginning to follow larger companies in expanding their business operations into foreign markets.

Small and medium-sized businesses are beginning to play an increasingly important role in the world of international business. In Japan, smaller companies have expanded their business by moving into new markets of neighboring Southeast Asian countries. Due to slow economic activity in their domestic marketplace, Japanese companies are using international markets as a major source for new customers and profit. At first, locals were apprehensive about the idea of these small companies expanding operations overseas as they feared the hollowing out of local industries. However, this attitude has seemed to change as locals in Japan have seen a wave of investment and employment opportunities created by the success of small local businesses that have expanded overseas.

Japan is not the only country experiencing an internationalization of small businesses. The government of the United Kingdom is urging British small-sized firms to pursue overseas trade opportunities which can create economic growth for the country through increased exports. Despite the influence from the UK government, small businesses in the UK have found many barriers and challenges as they try to push into the global marketplace. The global stage requires businesses to have innovative products in competitive environments and have the agility to target several markets keeping cultural differences in mind. To confront these challenges, British businesses have created online tools to help small firms successfully develop an export strategy. Here at globalEDGE, an export tutorial has also been created as a useful guide for businesses facing challenges as they pursue opportunities abroad. Collaboration within the international business community will be important for increasing exports by small businesses in the United Kingdom and the rest of the world for that matter.

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