by Monique Thompson

The export imperative

International companies performing better than domestic counterparts, states Regus study

Regus study has found that SA companies operating overseas are reporting better results
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South African companies operating in international markets are reporting better results (revenue trends, or profit trends, or both) than those concentrating on their domestic market, according to evidence from the Regus Global Survey, which polled opinion from more than 12 000 companies around the world. 

These findings indicate that foreign expansion is good for business and should be considered urgently by domestically focused companies that do not want to be left behind in fiercely competitive markets.

Evidence from the survey emphasises the need for a shake-up in attitudes at domestically focused firms. There is a gulf between the outlook of South African companies already operating internationally – where 80% intends to expand still further – and those solely operating in home markets – where only 55% intends to expand abroad over the next few years.

‘Property’ and ‘People’ are key perceived obstacles to international expansion:

  • 47% of firms say the biggest obstacle to overseas expansion is the challenge of setting up a physical presence in a foreign country.
  • 79% of companies say that property commitments have to be very short-term when setting up a foreign operation, as they do not know how quickly or slowly they will grow.
  • Opinion is split over where senior management for overseas operations should hail from, with 46% favouring a mother country manager, and 54% opting for a local manager.
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