Once upon a time there were only businesses that conducted domestic business. They sold their products down the block or (oh, the challenge!) across state lines. Over time technological advances changed the way people do business. The Internet is perhaps the best-known example of a technological breakthrough drastically changing everything, from how we start, run and grow businesses. Now there's no turning back to the outmoded way of strictly operating a small local business. It's pure global business -- the world is your market -- and here's why.
1. Technology makes it easy to connect with customers worldwide.
With a digital device and Internet connection, customers can find you and you can find them, provided you have some form of online identity (e.g., website, blog, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page or Twitter handle).
If you want to sell to someone 12,000 miles away, you can! There is a resource available for every step in the expanding international process-from making a product, to shipping it, to collecting payment. If you don't know how to do it, look it up on the Internet with key search words. Have you tried Quora (www.quora.com) yet? Quora lets you post questions, to which other Quora visitors provide answers. In addition to serving as the Import/Export guide here, I also answer questions at Quora about expanding a business internationally.
2. Growth is important to running a business; global is an avenue for growth.
What would life be like if you never changed as a human being? Say you never grew taller than a foot? Or you wore the same size shirt your entire life? Imagine a business where the same thing happened-nothing changed. No growth. Would you be satisfied? Most people would respond with, "It depends." Depends on what? Do you want growth for growth's sake or growth for directing our lives, learning and creating new things and offering new services? Growth for the latter is what makes and keeps us fully engaged and excited about what we are doing! And within that meaningful activity, we have the ability to take our business global. It's also a chance to remake our world.
3. Knowledge, tools and resources are right at your fingertips to take you global.
People used to say, "I don't know how to set up an import/export business;" "I am clueless on how to arrange payment on an international sale;" "How can I find customers overseas;" or "What's the value of a blog?"
Answers are right at your fingertips on the Internet:
4. A story: Goodbye to the local small business and hello to the emerging global small business the world over.
The impact of globalization can be found as nearby as your local dry cleaner, shoe repair shop or hairdresser. For example, a visitor from Japan walks into a North American shoe repair shop to get her shoes shined. Speaking very good English, she gets into a conversation about the shoe business, what part of Japan she is from (Kobe) and one thing leads to another. She marvels at the product used on her shoes to make them shine and asks the owner how she can purchase it back home in Japan. The shoe shop owner says it's his little secret formula that he only sells locally. The Japanese customer buys the product and says she will be in touch with him by email or Skype after she returns to Japan. She hands over a business card (created online at UK-based Moo.com) and suggests that the shoe repair shop owner visit her American-based Zazzle (www.zazzle.com) site at Japan Shoezies where she sells shoe accessories worldwide. Before walking out the door, she asks the owner to visit her on her Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, all shown on the back of her business card.
After this encounter, the shoe shop owner thinks twice about his local business. He realizes opportunities abound in the global marketplace and that he better get with the global program if he plans to not just survive but also thrive in the business world. He picks up the can of shoe polish and starts mentally strategizing on how to get it to Japan. In the meantime, he wonders if the Japanese woman will contact him.
In the next twenty years, businesses are going to be even bigger and more global. You can stay small and local or live it up and expand internationally. It's your choice. Thank goodness individual freedom and control are within reach.