Senior decision makers in British small and medium enterprises (SMEs) expect international trading to drive 25 per cent of their business’s growth over the next five years, and say mobile technology is critical to international operations, new online research from EE has revealed. To help UK SMEs work more effectively across borders, EE has launched Business Extra+, the UK’s first plan for businesses to include unlimited calls and texts across the USA, EU and UK.
EE’s SME International Ambitions online survey of 1,000 senior decision makers in British businesses was conducted by YouGov, and found that the US and Western Europe are the top growth markets for Britain’s smaller businesses. 55 per cent of senior decision makers in SMEs operating internationally say their businesses are currently or planning to trade with the US market, while 82 per cent said they are currently or planning to trade with Western Europe.
Over two thirds of senior decision makers in SMEs operating internationally (69 per cent) said international calls are critical to their business, and three quarters (75 per cent) said that using mobile devices while abroad for calls, text, email, web and file sharing in the same way they do at home was extremely important when travelling. 70 per cent said mobile technology helps them better interact with overseas customers, partners and prospects.
EE’s Business Extra+ plans provide enhanced roaming options for UK SMEs when travelling to the US and Europe. The plan is designed for businesses to use their smartphones as they would at home, in Europe, USA or the UK, with unlimited calls and texts between any of these destinations, plus EE’s Euro Data Pass as standard. The plans includes up to 50GB of data per month in the UK, meeting the demand of the majority of UK SMEs.
EE also enables SMEs to work in the EU as they do at home with 500MB of daily data through the Euro Data pass – equivalent to 15GB a month.
Lydia Hicks, director of SME product marketing at BT said: “UK SMEs show no signs of holding back on their international business ambitions, so we’ve built our EE Business Extra+ plans to help them stay connected with international customers and partners, whether at home or abroad. Unlimited calls and texts to and from clients and partners overseas, plus generous 4G data allowances enable UK SMEs to focus on growing their businesses, rather than worrying about their bill. Plus, our superfast 4G in over 50 countries enables business people to work as they would from home.”
Anthony Sinclair, the central London tailors, is the company behind the suits worn by Sean Connery in his first James Bond film. Just like the 007 agent, the work takes its staff all over the world.
David Mason, managing director of Anthony Sinclair, said: “International operations are crucial to our business. We travel frequently to Europe and America to meet with suppliers, clients and new business leads, and technology helps us to bring the office with us. EE’s plans will mean that we can call our customers and partners, and access all customer records and virtual catalogues while we’re abroad just as we would at home without worrying what the bill is going to be like.”
The research further revealed:
• Asia and Eastern Europe are the fourth and fifth top growth markets, each with 42 per cent, while one third (33 per cent) are targeting Australia and New Zealand
• 22 per cent currently or plan to trade with South America, and 21 per cent currently trade with or are aiming to trade with South Africa
• Northern Africa was revealed to be the market SMEs are least likely to be targeting for growth, as just 15 per cent of SMEs saying they currently or plan to trade with i
• Manufacturing (71 per cent), media and marketing (67 per cent) and IT/telecoms (43 per cent) are the industries most likely to be trading or planning to trade abroad
• Additionally, 40 per cent said that they are currently trading internationally, while a further six per cent plan to do so within the next five years
• After Western Europe and the USA, the Nordics is the third most popular growth market, with 44 per cent of SMEs currently or with plans to operate internationally saying they’re targeting the region.