More and more small businesses are branching out overseas, a new study finds.
Research from the National Small Business Association and its international trade arm, the Small Business Exporters Association, revealed that 64 percent of all small businesses have sold merchandise or services to a customer outside of the U.S., up 12 percentage points since 2010.
In addition, there has been a marked increase among non-exporters considering expanding into the international marketplace. The study found that 63 percent of non-exporters are interested in starting to export their goods or services, up from 43 percent three years ago.
"The growth we're seeing in small-business exporters underscores a broad change in attitude about exporting," said National Small Business Association Chair David Ickert of Air Tractor Inc. "Not only are small businesses seeing growing opportunities available to them via exporting, they increasingly view their goods and/or services as valuable in a global marketplace."
The research found a significant drop among non-exporters who said lack of goods or services to export was their main barrier to selling internationally. Today, the small business owners surveyed said their top obstacle is a lack of information and an unclear understanding of where to start.
The study revealed a number of benefits for those small businesses that are currently exporting, including increased sales and profits, a diversified customer base and increased stability in the light of U.S. economic difficulties.
The research was based on surveys of more than 500 U.S. small businesses.