UK mid-sized businesses are being too conservative in their export ambitions and not considering overseas growth markets despite being aware of the benefits, according to new research.
Three out of five firms (58 per cent), with an annual turnover between £25 million and £750 million, said they did not currently export and only seven per cent were looking to do so within the next five years, according to the Business in Britain report published by Lloyds Bank.
It said this was an indication that over half of mid-sized businesses were still cautious in considering their long-term export strategy.
The research comes as recent indicators have shown that firms are more bullish about the UK economy with business confidence reaching a 22-year high, according to the report.
According to the findings, 17 per cent of firms stated that selling overseas was one of their top three business objectives for the next year.
This contrasted with three out of five mid-sized firms which said increasing turnover was one of the main goals, followed by 43 per cent of firms which were focusing on growing their UK market.
Steve Clarke, area director for Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking in the West Midlands, said: "Although business confidence has reached a record high, mid-sized firms often appear to be overlooking the benefits of exporting.
"The size of the international opportunity clearly depends on the nature of the sector.
"However it also reflects the fact that businesses are focusing their efforts on their UK operations first, looking to reduce their costs and increase productivity before embarking on global growth opportunities."
Businesses listed a number of factors which they said prevented them from exporting to new markets including not having the right contacts (21 per cent), products not being suitable for overseas markets (20 per cent) and not understanding the legal and regulatory requirements (20 per cent).