## The Rise of Global Growth Opportunities for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
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Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are expanding their horizons and placing a strong emphasis on cross-border sales. According to Visa’s Global Back to Business Study, SMBs worldwide, including those in the United States, are prioritizing global growth opportunities. The study, which examined consumers and small businesses in 10 international markets, highlights the significant trend of SMBs embracing new technologies and digital payment solutions to facilitate their expansion plans.
### The Impact of Digital Payments on Global Business Growth
The adoption of new technologies, particularly digital payment solutions, by entrepreneurs is playing a crucial role in driving global expansion. The survey reveals that 55% of consumers plan to increase their use of digital payments this year. This shift to digital payments is empowering small businesses to improve efficiencies, target new audiences, and flourish in an increasingly digital world.
Jeni Mundy, Visa’s global head of merchant sales and acquiring, believes that the small business mindset has transitioned from survival mode to growth mode. She emphasizes that SMBs are leveraging digital payment solutions to reach customers beyond geographical boundaries, transforming themselves into virtually borderless entities.
### The Mindset of Small Businesses: Expanding Horizons
The Global Back to Business Study highlights the changing mindset of SMBs. The majority of surveyed business owners (79%) express a keen interest in expanding into new geographies. Notably, smaller retailers operating both online and in-store are even more ambitious, with 90% considering cross-border sales as a major growth opportunity.
Consumers are ready to embrace global purchases, as 72% express comfort in making such transactions. However, some consumers harbor concerns about shopping globally. Measures such as comprehensive card protection, positive reviews, and shipping assurances are crucial in increasing their comfort level and encouraging them to make global purchases.
### Embracing the Transition to Cashless Transactions
The study reveals that 95% of entrepreneurs aspire to be cashless in the future, while 35% recognize that accepting new forms of payment is a gateway to attracting new customers. Additionally, 51% of SMBs plan to shift to cashless operations within the next two years, embracing mobile payment apps (55%), mobile wallets (50%), and contactless cards (36%).
### Strategies to Reach New Customers: The Power of Marketing
To expand their customer base, SMBs are implementing various strategies. These include increasing their social media presence (44%), offering new products or services (41%), and increasing overall marketing efforts (40%). These initiatives enable small businesses to connect with new customers and promote their offerings effectively.
### Understanding the New Consumer Mindset
In order to succeed in today’s business landscape, it is crucial to grasp the current consumer mindset. According to the Global Back to Business Study, 82% of shoppers have already used digital payments for a significant portion of their shopping (averaging 58%). Moreover, 55% of consumers plan to increase their use of digital payment tools, while 40% aspire to go completely cashless.
Sustainability practices also have a significant impact on consumer purchasing decisions, with 68% of consumers stating that a company’s sustainability practices influence their purchasing decisions to some degree. Additionally, 77% of consumers express willingness to pay more for sustainable products and services.
### Supporting Local Economies and Communities
Consumers surveyed not only plan to engage in global shopping but also express a desire to invest in their local economies. Nearly half (49%) of consumers pledge to support local businesses, while 44% plan to make personal connections within their communities. For brick-and-mortar retailers, accepting contactless cards (57%), mobile payment apps (49%), and mobile wallets (49%) is essential to meet customer expectations.
Digital payments not only facilitate transactions but also encourage customers to tip. As a result, 77% of consumers have noticed an increase in stores accepting and encouraging digital payments for tips, leading to an increased pressure to tip among 43% of these consumers.
### Embracing New Technologies: Automation and AI
In addition to digital payment solutions, small businesses are considering the adoption of automation and AI services such as ChatGPT to enhance their business operations and gain a competitive edge. Although many expressed some concern about handling new technologies, 91% of SMBs are open to exploring these innovative solutions in the next 12 months.
### Addressing Cybersecurity Concerns
Despite their eagerness to adopt new technologies, SMBs remain wary of cyberattacks. According to the survey, 67% of small business owners are not confident in their ability to fully recover from a fraud incident or cyberattack. This concern highlights the need for robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard small businesses and their digital operations.
### Small Businesses Going Global: A Smart Move
The Small Business Administration (SBA) encourages entrepreneurs to explore international business opportunities, emphasizing that small businesses are capable of going global. Engaging in global trade enables small businesses to diversify their customer base, safeguard against fluctuations in the domestic market, and achieve higher growth rates along with increased employment opportunities.
In conclusion, the shift towards global growth opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses is evident. SMBs are leveraging digital payment solutions to expand their businesses beyond geographical boundaries. By understanding the evolving consumer mindset and embracing new technologies, small businesses can position themselves for success in an increasingly interconnected world. Whether through cross-border sales or supporting local economies, SMBs can capitalize on new opportunities while fortifying their business operations against potential risks.
Keywords: global growth opportunities, cross-border sales, small businesses, digital payment solutions, consumer mindset, sustainability practices, local economies, new technologies, cyberattacks, small business administration