By Laurel J. Delaney
Successful small businesses are figuring out how to master the transition from being a local company to global. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, more than 70 percent of the world’s purchasing power is located outside of the United States. That’s why many businesses are jumping on the global bandwagon – to capitalize on the potential of tremendous growth. Here are ten reasons to do so.
1. Increase sales and profitability.
Going global can provide new sources of revenue, yield greater returns on investments and secure long-term success for a business. The Internet makes it even easier to reach out to the world for business.
2. Enter new markets.
Have you saturated your local, core market? Then look beyond your region and consider a market overseas. Be sure to pick one that offers opportunity. You want a market where it’s easy to enter, whose buyers desire your product or service. For example, is there a market for your products or services in Ireland? If so, get a jump on your competitors and get there before they do. This is called first-mover advantage.
3. Create jobs.
As you grow your business globally, you must support the additional workload. Hiring people is the solution and we know that the strength of our country lies in its ability to create jobs that help people live and prosper.
4. Offset slow growth in your home market.
Are you selling kale in your home market and only so many customers will buy it? Or are you selling specialized software and there’s been a sudden decrease in demand for it? A way to overcome low growth in your home market is to look at overseas markets. Protect your company by exporting, using the Internet, licensing or franchising your products.
5. Outmaneuver competitors.
Taking one step to enter a new overseas market that your competitor hasn’t entered might outmaneuver that domestic-only rival with stronger company performance.
6. Enlarge the customer base.
If the company currently has 1,000 customers, why not increase the base to 2,000 by entering a foreign market via ecommerce or a collaborative sales partnership? You’ll need support to get the work done so consider adding people to get the processes in place.
7. Create economies of scale in production.
Your company is ramping up and producing 20,000 hammers at once because an outfit in Ireland, Japan or Australia wants to buy them and won’t buy a single case. The more you produce, the greater the chances of lowering the per-unit manufacturing costs.
8. Explore untapped markets with the power of the Internet.
With an ecommerce site, customers worldwide might eventually find you, provided you’ve made it easy for them to do so. Move into the markets that generate a heavy concentration of inquiries on your website. You may not have anticipated a particular geographic area would be a ripe market, but the people there are telling you it is.
9. Make use of excess capacity off-season.
To insulate the business from seasonal sales fluctuations, find foreign markets to counterbalance dips in demand. For instance, some firms gear up for the holiday season, only to see sales nosedive in January. Sell to other nations with peak-buying seasons early in the new year to avoid a winter sales slowdown.
10. Travel to new countries.
Then there’s the fun factor in taking a business global. Not only will you connect with people from all over the world, but you’ll also have an excuse to meet with them in person to grow the relationship and the business. Treat it as an exciting learning adventure.
Laurel J. Delaney is founder and president of Chicago-based GlobeTrade.com, a management consulting company that helps entrepreneurs and small businesses go global. She is the publisher of The Global Small Business Blog, which is ranked No. 1 in the world for entrepreneurs and small businesses interested in going global and the author of “Exporting: The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably,” published by Apress, 2013. Follow her @Laurel Delaney