A new study has found that almost one in three entrepreneurs in the UK are looking to expand their business overseas in 2012.
The research from leading accountancy firm RSM Tenon suggested that 31% hoped to capitalise on new markets, with four out of five believing Europe to be their most likely target in the months ahead.
It comes just a month after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed the UK's trade deficit fell to £1.1 billion in December - representing its lowest level since April 2003 - as more firms looked overseas to extend their customer base with domestic trading conditions showing very few signs of improvement.
Indeed, the UK economy was confirmed to have contracted by 0.2% in the final quarter of 2011 as consumer confidence, late payment and a restricted access to credit continued to stifle small businesses' growth opportunities.
Although this is an encouraging sign, the additional challenges brought by international trade are thought to deter even more firms from taking the leap as cash is tied up for longer due to goods having longer to travel. However specialist international finance solutions can help to overcome this potential stumbling block by releasing cash against the value of invoices soon after they're raised.
Philip Coleman, head of international business development at RSM Tenon, said: "It's disappointing that more UK entrepreneurs aren't looking to develop their overseas markets. Despite the ongoing difficulties with the economy in Europe, I think that there are some really promising opportunities for UK companies at the moment."
A range of established international finance companies are available to help businesses overcome these challenges, so whether you are a UK-based importer or exporter, have overseas offices or are a multinational corporation, it is important to evaluate all the international finance options that are available to your business.
For instance, export finance helps to fund exporting activity by bridging the cash flow gap between providing a service and getting paid, whilst additionally assisting with your sales ledger management overseas. Import finance solutions, on the other hand, are available to help UK importers to finance the importing of goods, a hugely valuable resource in these testing times.
Letters of credit, purchase order finance and supply chain finance are three other similar solutions that can equip small and medium-sized businesses with the tools required to overcome the challenges of international trade, so rather than depend on an overdraft or bank loan to fund your business' growth, why not seek specialist international finance solutions?