SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE). SMEs (82%) are still planning to expand into new markets and designing their strategies to do so successfully.
The independent study, which recently surveyed 1,000 US SME decision makers, examined where and how they plan to invest resources and expand their operations abroad in 2023 and beyond.
Growth opportunities in North America, Europe and UK/Ireland
Of those SMBs looking to expand in the coming year, 41% plan to stay closer to home and only expand in North America. The UK/Ireland (27%) and Western Europe (24%) are also target destinations for expansion next year.
When asked what is most important to their business expansion, 82% of respondents said retaining current talent is a critical strategy in support of future growth plans, with many prioritizing employee retention. Ways to retain employees include raises (44%), better benefits (43%) and investment in professional development and training (41%).
In addition to retaining talent, the survey also highlighted the top strategies US companies are relying on to enable successful expansion. 43% said marketing initiatives are a key strategy for growth, followed by 40% who see recruitment and talent as critical. Attracting customers (39%), starting new partnerships (36%) and identifying new suppliers (36%) were all cited as indicators to support their business expansion.
Accelerated fintech adoption as companies modernize the way they work
Accelerating the shift to digital and fintech is at the top of the list of priorities for companies looking to expand globally after realizing their current solutions aren’t up to the task. Many SMBs around the world recognize the various pain points when it comes to moving money and making payments across borders through a system that is often costly, slow and offers little transparency throughout the process.
The data shows that many US SMBs are now considering digital and fintech solutions to overcome these hurdles, with 91% of them saying they would consider a digital/fintech solution over traditional banking services.
Additionally, among companies considering expansion, almost half (46%) of SMEs feel they do not have the adequate financial infrastructure to do so. However, research also revealed that companies are looking to move to digital platforms, with 78% of respondents saying they believe a fintech platform would be helpful in managing international growth – clear evidence of the strong trend towards fintech over traditional ones banking solutions.
“It’s been a challenging few months for companies in the US and around the world as they navigate a volatile economic climate,” he said Ravi Adusumilli, Airwallex, GM of the Americas and Head of Partnerships. “SMEs are important contributors to the US economy, and the survey results clearly demonstrate the need to find better solutions to fuel their growth, remove friction, facilitate expansion, and ensure long-term success.”
“Seamless technology will continue to play a key role in enabling innovative change by creating faster, safer and more convenient solutions for those looking to do business internationally,” adds Ravi. “At Airwallex, we are focused on helping organizations realize new growth opportunities and we do this by providing embedded finance and custom API solutions that enable businesses of all sizes to scale quickly. Together with our global payments and proprietary infrastructure, we empower companies to pursue their ambitions and grow across borders.”
The most recent survey also revealed how these organizations plan to grow, with 54% seeking investment from VC, angel and crowdfunding, followed by 49% through partners and affiliates, and 43% choosing to reinvest profits.
High marks for job satisfaction and productivity when working remotely
Recent reports have cited “The Great Resignation” as an ongoing economic trend of employees leaving their jobs in recent years. However, survey results revealed that 52% plan to stay at their company, with the top three reasons being “enjoying the job” at 64%, followed by “enjoying working with their team” at 50% and 49% saying that they have high job satisfaction.
23% of respondents said they will be looking for another job in the next 7-10 months. When asked why they would go, the highest percentage, 43%, replied that they would go elsewhere because of better opportunities; 30% said time for a change; 24% had no reason and 23% said their business wasn’t growing. The survey also found that remote work has proven to be successful: 50% feel just as productive, 34% feel more productive, and just 10% feel less productive.
“Our employees are our greatest asset at Airwallex. We are committed to supporting the needs of our growing team around the world and continue to hire across all teams and at all levels,” said Adusumilli. “Working in a start-up environment can be particularly stressful, and we want to make sure our team is valued, passionate about their work and enthusiastic about our mission to help companies expand their reach around the world to expand. We do this by creating an environment of creativity, support and teamwork.”
Founded in Melbourne, Australia in 2015, Airwallex is a fast growing global fintech platform. The company first launched in August 2021 at the height of the pandemic in North America. At the time, Airwallex saw an opportunity to support businesses in the US that needed cross-border payment and finance solutions and saw customer growth increase by more than 200%. Most recently, the company was also named “Startup of the Year” at the US Fintech Awards.
This Airwallex survey – conducted by Censuswide between September 11-17, 2022 – surveyed over 1,000 business decision makers in US SMBs (companies with 50-500 employees).
Airwallex is the leading financial technology platform for modern businesses that grow across borders. With one of the world’s most powerful payment and banking infrastructures, our technology empowers businesses of all sizes to accept payments, move money globally and simplify their financial operations on a single platform. Founded in Melbourne, Australia in 2015, our purpose is to connect entrepreneurs, company founders, makers and creators with opportunities in all parts of the world. Today Airwallex has a global presence in Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. Learn more at www.airwallex.com.