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Make sure you have what it takes to turn your business into a global success

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Are you there to serve your local community, or are you able to use your technical expertise to tap into global markets? Take this quiz to reveal all.

It comes as research of 500 SMEs revealed nearly half don’t think they’ll grow over the next two years – not just due to the challenging economic landscape – but a lack of technical expertise. And 43% feel their absence of technical knowledge will limit their ability to expand over the next couple of years.

This lack of optimism when it comes to scaling up is also down to the challenging economic climate (38%) and competition within the industry (35%).Consumers purchasing less (37%) and lack of fund for marketing (21%) were other top barriers called out by SMEs surveyed.

PayPal’s 2024 Business of Change Report also found 62% agreed online sales is key to expanding their organisation, yet 31% don’t feel they have the technical skills to enable their company to thrive in this space. Nearly a third (32%) wouldn’t feel assured in their ability to sell internationally.

A further 28% lack faith in their understanding of online and social media marketing, while 24% don’t feel they know enough about ensuring their website is secure and safe for customers.

More than three in 10 (31%) would be concerned about their ability to manage and protect customer information in an environment where cybersecurity is on the rise.

And 17% are stumped when it comes to knowing which payment methods to offer, such as instalment options like buy now, pay later or digital wallets.

Vincent Belloc, Managing Director, PayPal UK noted: “In today’s dynamic business landscape, growth is not just a desire but a necessity.

“Yet, it’s accompanied by its own set of challenges. As consumer purchase behaviours shift and technologies advance, keeping pace can be daunting. However, our research indicates a promising outlook on the horizon.”

The research went on to find 73% have seen changes in consumer behaviour within the last two years, including turning to online shopping more (23%), demands for discounts (32%) and more ‘abandoned baskets’ online (13%). But 69% reckon if their business can overcome barriers like these, it has the potential to flourish.

Some of the top goals SMEs are striving for include increased revenue (61%), improved customer loyalty (27%) and expanding their e-commerce operations (14%). However, 32% said their profits are lower than originally forecast, and 23% expected to be operating at a larger scale than they currently are now.

Hope is on the horizon for 2024 though, as half of those polled via OnePoll plan on increasing their marketing efforts over the next year to help drive expansion.

Over half of SME owners (57%) also believe that investing in technology and AI skills will be key to their ability to adapt to the rapidly advancing technology landscape. While 41% plan to pump more investment into online sales.

Vincent Belloc added: “We’re thrilled to see numerous UK small business owners acknowledging the opportunities for growth and actively planning for expansion in 2024.

“We’re confident that unlocking the power of online sales is key to fostering business growth. That’s why we’re excited to introduce PayPal Complete Payments, designed to empower SMEs in streamlining their online payment capabilities.”

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