2016 will bring a number of opportunities for SMEs to begin exporting, or alter their existing export patterns to be more profitable.

Research consistently shows that businesses that export outperform businesses that rely solely on domestic trade. So there is plenty of incentive for SMEs to look for growth by finding new markets overseas.

The UK government sees a strong balance of trade as crucial to the long term health of the British economy and accordingly, politicians have set an export target of £1 trillion per year by 2020.

Experts argue that achieving this target will depend to a large extent on whether UK SMEs can be persuaded about the merits of trading abroad.

To that end, the department of UK Trade and Investment has launched a new Exporting is Great campaign that has so far led to a 95% increase in businesses applying for export opportunities.

On their website, Exporting is Great advertises export opportunities from around the globe. They have also produced this nifty advert featuring Brian Cox.

Today, the average UK SME exports to 2.7 countries and draws 27.2 per cent of its revenue from international trade. In addition, nearly half of the businesses surveyed said that they expected their exports to grow over the next year.

When pursuing an export strategy, an essential part of success is businesses linking up and building strong relationships. This minimises the risks associated with investing in foreign markets and helps make the world feel that little bit smaller and more manageable.

Shipping containers

Changing patterns of export

Smaller British firms are getting bolder with their international expansion. And many are altering the traditional patterns of export as well.

A survey of UK SMEs carried out in December last year found that 25 per cent of firms export to China, overtaking the 23.7 per cent of SMEs that export to the United States.

This also represents a marked change from the nine per cent of UK SMEs that exported to China at the start of 2015.

Exporting to China is a strong signal from small UK firms that they are seeking to capitalise on emerging markets with strong potential for growth.

And while Europe still remains the top export destination for UK firms, the new patterns of international trade have a few challenges for UK SMEs to deal with.

One problem facing exporters is how to transport goods faraway foreign destinations. When trading with Europe there are ready established trade routes and couriers to transport goods. You also don’t have to worry about your goods smashing or becoming damaged during transit because they are often only travelling short distances.

When goods are travelling further – to China for example – then you need to take better care of your products.

H&O Plastics supply sturdy plastic packaging to UK SMEs

Paint and Resin Container (1)H&O Plastics supply a range of high quality plastic containers to store a wide variety of products in. You can browse our range on our Buy Buckets website.

Check out our range of new heavy-duty plastic pails that are suitable for storing and transporting paints, resins, inks and other liquid products without risk of cracking or spilling.

bulk wet wipes2016 is finally here and if your New Year’s Resolution was to save money this year then we have a fantastic project for you – homemade wet cleaning wipes.

These wipes are great for quick cleaning jobs in the home, in the car, and just about anywhere else. But if you buy them from the shops or over the internet they can be quite expensive – especially if you have to buy a new wet wipe dispenser every time you replenish your stock.

Fortunately though, you can make your own inexpensive cleaning wipes using only a few basic household items – kitchen roll, white vinegar (or a soapy solution) and water.

Get hold of a wet wipe dispenser from our website or reuse an old one if you have it. Next take a kitchen roll, cut it in half and insert it into your container. The roll is then ready to be doused with a cleaning product of your choice.

Which cleaning product to use is largely down to personal preference and what you plan to use the wipes for. If it’s for in the car then you might want to fill it with a leather cleaning solution (equal parts oil and vinegar makes a good homemade leather cleaner). If you intend to use the wipes in the kitchen or bathroom then you might want to make a more powerful cleaning solution using soap or bleach. If you’re using a more powerful cleaning agent then make sure you label the container so that you aren't tempted to use the towels on human skin (or heaven forbid on a baby's bum).

When the roll is suitably damp it’s up to you what to do with it. If you are using a H&O wet wipe container then we recommend you remove the cardboard tube from the middle of your roll and feed the paper through the coloured plastic insert in the top of the container – remembering to shut the lid so your wipes don’t dry out straight away.

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