As the Irish economy continues to recover, the latest research commissioned by workspace provider Regus reveals that one in three Irish firms (31%) are growing primarily due to overseas expansion, while just a quarter attribute their growth to domestic expansion.
The poll, which canvassed the opinions of business owners and senior executives, also reveals that 31% of Irish firms are experiencing balanced growth across domestic and foreign markets.
13% of firms report that they are not experiencing growth at all.
Karen Lawlor, country manager for Ireland at Regus commented: “All the indicators are that growth is slowly getting back on track, although it is important not to overlook that more than one in ten firms said their company hadn’t returned to growth.
“What is particularly encouraging is that a third of firms are performing well in foreign markets and opportunities to expand abroad look set to grow further still with government’s recent announcement of its €75 million fund to give greater support to exporters. This is an extremely positive development as a healthy export market is vital for long-term economic sustainability at a national and individual company level.”
Companies were also asked in the poll about the biggest barriers to overseas expansion. The top barrier identified by three quarters of respondents was finding the right staff. A lack of local knowledge and connections was pinpointed by over half respondents (53%) as an impediment to international expansion, followed by lack of access to flexible work space (48%).
Other difficulties highlighted were:
- Lack of accurate market information (41%)
- Setting up IT and services (36%)
- Obtaining high quality translation services (36%)
- Setting up a logistics and distribution network (30%)
Lawlor adds: “Many firms are put off overseas expansion by the perceived risks, time and money involved but, although it can be a daunting prospect, you only have to look at the success stories to see that it can pay dividends.
“Every day at Regus we see companies – including thousands of SMEs – harnessing our international network of business centres to test the waters in overseas markets without over committing financially, keeping operations as lean and scalable as possible.”