Drivers and Dynamic Processes for SMEs Going Global

Many, if not most, small-medium enterprises (SMEs) are subject to the impacts of and when they have to venture into the world-trade system, this adds another dimension of challenge to their already difficult environments. A recent project undertaken by Polish, Italian, Norwegian and UK collaborators examined eight case studies of disparate smaller companies with international operations, two in each of the countries represented. This article draws together a number of common features surrounding the process of going global, and the challenges experienced by those firms. These include the stretching of capabilities in supporting customers in unfamiliar markets, the internal competition for funds in pursuing multiple international markets, the importance of word-of-mouth marketing, and the pressures on SMEs’ R&D functions. It also highlights the critical importance of balance in smaller enterprises where resources are likely to be tightly constrained, and observes that while some of the challenges apply to many firms and other contexts, they are especially critical in SMEs. Yet awareness of them by those directly involved at the time may be low.

Paper pubblicato: Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development 2006 13:1


2006_JSBED_Winch Bianchi