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Tech worries make SMBs reluctant to expand

(Image credit: Image Credit: NakoPhotography / Shutterstock)

Small and medium-sized businesses in the UK are facing so much uncertainty around different aspects of their business that they’re reconsidering any sort of international expansion within the next two years.

This is according to a new report from DocuSign, which says that less than a quarter (22 per cent) of businesses actually plan on expanding any time soon.

The report says the problem lies in the lack of confidence. SMBs are no longer confident due to multiple factors, such as political and economic uncertainty, increasing costs and red tape.

The report is based on a poll of some 1,000 SMB owners in the country. It says that financing, experience and red tape are the biggest roadblocks to international expansion.

Another key factor is the skills gap. SMBs are lacking skilled workers in accounting and finance, as well as IT and digital.

“Growing a business across borders is challenging, particularly in times of macro-economic uncertainty. As such, it is perhaps unsurprising that many SMBs are focusing their efforts on the UK. Confidence plays a big part, and this is borne out by the results of our latest survey,” said Ronan Copeland, Vice President of Commercial Sales, EMEA and GM Ireland at DocuSign. “This is why we are partnering with Enterprise Nation to provide UK SMBs with the opportunity to hear firsthand from successful entrepreneurs how they effectively scaled their businesses, starting with the system of agreement,” he added.

“While start-up rates remain high, scale-up rates in Britain are still lagging behind those of other countries. This is not down to a lack of ambition, this is about opening up access to the skills and advice businesses desperately need to clear the common hurdles on the journey towards growth, including international trade,” said Emma Jones, founder, national small business support network Enterprise Nation.

“Fortunately there is a great deal of help out there to take your business international – from advisory services, to outsourcing, to tools that take away the burden of much of the red tape.”

Image Credit: NakoPhotography / Shutterstock