Exporting can seem like more trouble than it's worth for small companies. You're dealing with new corporate laws, more complex logistics and a marketplace you're most likely unfamiliar with.
But the growth opportunities exporting offers up are no myth. Foreign appetite for British services and goods in overseas markets is exploding: UK exports to India grew by 45% between 2005 and 2010, according to UKTI, and UK businesses exported £17bn worth of goods to Ireland in 2010, to pick just a couple of many stellar statistical examples.
So what are small businesses to do? Well, first things first, exporting doesn't actually have to be difficult. There are some truly brilliant, and best of all incredibly simple-to-use, services out there to help you dip your toe in overseas waters.
We at Smarta are big fans of Alibaba, the international trading platform for small businesses, because it really does make exporting about as simple as you could ever hope for. Which means start-ups really can try exporting without the need for huge (or virtually any) investment or struggle.
Don't believe us? Watch how these three small businesses started exporting with minimal fuss. (Then watch the next webisodes in this series.)