Five key takeaways from the Going Global report include:
- SMEs that use data to make business decisions (‘data experts’) are more confident when it comes to future growth than those companies that don’t. The ‘data expert’ SMEs expect to see a 20% annual increase in growth over the next five years, a rate that is 19% higher than expected by those who do not use data.
- 70% of SMEs classed as ‘data experts’ believe that innovations in AI and automation present one of the biggest opportunities to help drive business growth in the next three to five years.
- A number of SMEs interviewed chose to build proprietary technology because existing software simply wasn’t up to the job or it was too expensive to invest in from day one. PrivateFly, Croud and FreestyleXtreme are three organisations that have done this and discuss in the report the great success achieved as a result.
- 78% of the SMEs we spoke with believe data is important in helping them gain a competitive advantage. The interviewees in the report echoed this point, but many highlighted the importance of using data with caution. Andrew Newlands, MD and Founder, Monty Bojangles stated: “There is a big danger attached to decision making based on data – that you rely too much on data and lose your instinct. No one innovates based on historical data – the only type of data is out-of-date data… Learn from data, yes, but don’t let it control your decision making. Data doesn’t have a soul.”
- Don’t underestimate the importance of local knowledge when launching in new markets – Luke Smith CEO and Co-Founder at Croud said: “Marketing in many different regions is a big challenge for a lot of exporters. Hiring agency support can feel like a big expense for SMEs, but having that local market knowledge, cultural awareness and just up-to-date information on what’s going on can make a huge difference between efficient marketing spend or throwing your money down the drain.”
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