3 Simple ways to grow your SME

SMEs play a critical role in the UK economy, and their contribution increases year on year. SME companies represent 99.9% of the business population with 6 million businesses and around half of all turnover in the UK’s private sector. SMEs employ 16.8 million people, 61% of the total workforce. Aston Business School researcher Ankita Tibrewal’s has recently revealed the key driving factors in SME export success, with training, willingness to invest in language services, and cultural intelligence being the 3 most important factors to UK SME business growth. The study breaks down how 5 different activities drive business growth in 6 areas. These activities, identified in the research as Cultural Intelligence, Linguistic Competencies, Willingness to Invest, Training and Technological Awareness, are key drivers for a company’s language capacity (L-OC 30). The study is said to be the first comprehensive, country-wide quantitative research study investigating how language capabilities at an organisational level can facilitate the internationalisation of UK SMEs.


Diagram of the language capacity (LOC)

Upon analysing the data, willingness to invest in translation and language services, along with staff training are the two most important drivers facilitating LO-C within a company, while staff members’ linguistic competencies and cultural awareness are necessary for LO-C. With the dataset of 415 responses, the regression coefficients are as follows:

Training: 0.349

Willingness to invest: 0.275

Cultural intelligence: 0.227

Linguistic competencies: 0.210

Technological awareness: 0.065

indicating the relative importance of each driver for language capacity (LO-C). So, SMEs which are motivated and plan and use languages are highly likely to increase Export Orientation, and this research clearly indicates SMEs embracing language capabilities are 30% more successful in exporting than those which do not.

LO-C Drivers Pie Charts


While we can’t help you with staff training, Global Lingo is able to provide an international network of translators and language specialists with a vast of cultural knowledge for your international markets. Our network of global translators are immersed and well equipped with the cultural knowledge required to competently communicate with your overseas target audience. With technological awareness being the lowest driver for international business growth, the study shows that machine translation is not enough on its own to communicate to your clients in another language.

With rapidly changing markets and developments in technology, it’s ever more important to maintain confidence in your business growth through reaching a wider international customer base. Research suggests that around 75–80% of SMEs in the UK close within 10 years (Wright, 2015) of commencement due to lack of growth. One way to generate growth is to export products and/or services to international markets. Investing in Global Lingo’s language services is the simplest way to keep your business on track, by targeting two out of the three key driving factors identified for your business’ language capacity. LO-C has statistically a very strong relationship with Export Orientation, which in turn is highly correlated with Export Sales, Export Profit and Export Sales Growth.

Having the nuance and ability to understand exactly how your overseas clients differs to your at-home market is the key principle to how Global Lingo works with clients in order to help them succeed and grow. Not only do our translators specialise in your required language but are trained in different business service sectors such as manufacturing, legal, medical, computing and more. Browse through our different language services and sectors to see how we can help you grow your business to international markets.

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Did you know?

Global Lingo has one of the largest pool of linguists in the industry. Everyone is a native speaker in the language they are translating into, and we can translate into and from 150+ languages. So, whatever your project, whatever the language, Global Lingo can help.

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