Not For Beginners: Should SMEs Go to Fast-Growth Markets?

The Conference Board of Canada, 19 pages, February 2014
Briefing by Sui Sui, Danielle Goldfarb
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Is going to fast-growth markets good for Canada’s smaller players? This briefing examines how exporting—specifically to fast-growth markets—by Canadian small and medium-sized businesses has affected their company performance.

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This briefing, Not For Beginners: Should SMEs Go to Fast-Growth Markets?, analyzes the export and performance data from all Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It finds that exporting products boosts company sales on average, and the boost is larger for those that went to the largest fast-growth markets compared with other markets.

The average performance boost from exporting to fast-growth markets is modest, but the gap between the best and worst is wide: top performers did extremely well (almost doubling their fast-growth market sales every year), and bottom performers very poorly (mostly exiting these markets after less than a year). The briefing concludes that Canadian SMEs were more likely to survive and thrive in fast-growth markets if they had previous experience in domestic or industrialized markets, and if they constantly innovated.

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