Archive for the 'Globalization' Category

RESULTS: Are you concerned the government isn’t doing enough to keep Ebola out of the country?

The Question:

Are you concerned that the government isn’t doing enough to keep Ebola out of the country?

71% - Very concerned - the government should do more, like travel restrictions.
3% - Very concerned - the government is doing a reasonably good job.
16% - Somewhat concerned, but don’t expect it to impact my life.
11% - Not concerned because the risk is so low.

Jim’s Comments:
The risk of an Ebola pandemic is on everyone’s mind these days, even if you don’t worry much about it.  But we wanted to know just how concerned you were and whether you thought the government was doing enough to protect us. So in our most recent online poll we asked that question.  As you can see, a big chunk of you, more than seven of 10, said you’re not only worried about the disease, but also that the government wasn’t taking enough precautions.
One of the problems President Obama has today is that even many past supporters now think almost everything his administration does has to pass through the filter of politics and his version of political correctness.  No one should be shocked about the politics of decisions made in Washington, but we expect national leaders to have our backs on  the big things that really matter, like national defense and public health. I say when it comes to keeping us safe from terrorists and viruses, political correctness be damned. What about you?

Sadly, many polls besides ours indicate Americans are losing confidence in the decision-making process of our government in general and the president  Obama in particular.

Small business: The best boots on the ground

Small business owners are worried about world affairs.

In a recent online poll we asked our audience about that and almost three-fourths are either very or extremely concerned about the state of the world.

Photo courtesy of AGV Study Abroad

Photo Courtesy of AGV Study Abroad

In recent years terrorists have inverted this reality by employing to murderous advantage two icons of the very society they claim to hate: technology and markets. But just as these icons are ironic levers for terrorists who place no value on life, they become benevolent tools in the hands of those who do.

Indeed, when tolerant humans use technology and markets they do three very good and peaceful things: communicate, conduct business and share values. The 19th century French economist Frederic Bastiat observed that when goods cross borders, armies don’t. He couldn’t have imagined that today, thanks to technology, goods — and values — cross borders at the speed of light.

Traveling abroad I’ve learned when small business owners in different countries know each other they discover more in common than not. I submit that a small company in Kankakee, Illinois, connecting with an e-commerce customer in Kabul, Afghanistan can, over time, neutralize impediments to peace. And when a Main Street business in Bangor, Maine, shares a best practice with a peer in Baghdad, Iraq, ugly hatred morphs into the beauty of shared values.

The 18th century Irish philosopher Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Regarding the current debate about “boots on the ground,” there is no greater army of good men and women than small business owners around the globe leveraging technology to do business and share values across borders.

The carcinogens that metastasize into terrorism are ideology, ignorance and intolerance. But since centuries of politics and wars haven’t solved the conflict riddle, is it ignorance or ideology when western leaders don’t include in their peace strategy a potentially powerful and abundant force: small business trade?

Many organizations that have members who are Main Street business leaders can be used to promote business boots on the ground virtually anywhere in the world. The first two President Blasingame would deploy are local Chambers of Commerce and Rotary International.

Write this on a rock … Fight ideology, ignorance and intolerance with small business trade and shared values.

Jim Blasingame is the author of the award-winning book, “The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.”

Seeking efficiencies

Biutou Doumbia lives in a tiny village in the West African country of Mali. Biutou (sounds like Bee-oo-too) and her family live in poverty, very close to the line between survival and, well, you know.

Oh, one more thing: Biutou is a small business owner. She makes and sells peanut butter.

In Mali, peanut butter is made the same way African women have made other staples for millennia: by grinding the seeds on a rock with a large wooden pestle.

You might say that Biutou’s operation is vertically integrated: She grows the peanuts, and then manufactures, sells, and distributes her product.

Over two centuries ago, in The Wealth Of Nations, Adam Smith explained how markets are made by the division of labor. And free markets created capitalism, which Ayn Rand called, “the only system geared to the life of a rational being.”

Biutou doesn’t know Smith or Rand from a warthog - she’s illiterate. But she is one of Rand’s rational beings. And as such, she recognized the efficiencies of division of labor when a diesel-powered grinder/blender was made available.

Now, for 25¢ and a 10-minute wait, Biutou’s 15 pounds of peanuts turn into better peanut butter than she could make pounding all day with a pestle.

One of the things every business must do today is focus on core competencies–what you do that makes your business valuable to customers. Everything else, theoretically, can be outsourced to specialists in your non-core activity.

Take a look at your own operation to see how you can find efficiencies by asking this question: Must this task be done in-house?

Your answer will be found in the answers to other questions like these:

1. How much control do we lose, and can we live with it?

2. What impact will our decision have on customers?

Remember, any decision to outsource–or not–should be driven by the desire to seek efficiencies and improve customer service.


Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

Small Business Advocate Poll: Are you worried about declining American manufacturing?

The Question:
Are you worried that America has lost too many manufacturing jobs over the past 20 years?

75% - Yes, and we should do what we can to bring those jobs back to the U.S.

25% - No, the 21st century economy naturally has fewer manufacturing jobs

Jim’s Comments:

It is the height of understatement to say that the issue of creating and preserving manufacturing jobs is complicated. Manufacturing jobs are influenced by globalization, technology, politics, capital markets and customer expectations, just to name a few.

Nevertheless, when Americans are asked what should be done about manufacturing jobs in the U.S., the response, as we see with our poll this week, almost always indicates that the solution is simpler than it really is.

As you can see above, three-fourths of our respondents said “Just bring the jobs back,” while the rest are more willing to acknowledge the forces that are influencing the evolution of the marketplace. I will have more to say about this in the next week or so. Stay tuned.

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Connecting with global prospects and getting paid

This is the second of two articles on small businesses going global.

In the first article, I allowed that it can be exciting for business leaders to imagine a global prospect base of more than seven billion people. But for a small business to imagine an export strategy, it’s at once exciting and intimidating because of the three elemental global business questions, the first of which we focused on last time: Who are my global prospects? Now let’s focuses on the other two: How to connect with them and how to get paid.

The good news is that there are two government agencies standing by to answer both of these questions. Each one provides digital information, human assistance and global networks designed to help a small business maximize its opportunity to create and execute a successful export strategy.

The, “How do I connect with global prospect?” question can be answered by the U.S. Commercial Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce. This should be your first stop for educationon finding and converting global prospects into customers.

When you consider all of their resources, the U.S. Commercial Service is a virtual one-stop shop for developing and executing a small business export strategy: a great website (; a toll-free number (800-872-872) answered by a real person; over 100 offices around the U.S., plus dozens more around the globe you can walk right into and ask for help; and their book, A Basic Guide to Exporting, includes an excellent tutorial and several case studies.

All of that help is free, with the exception of the book and any direct expenses incurred on your behalf.

Export-Import Bank of the United States ( can answer the “how do I get paid” question on many levels.

Part of the U.S. government, Ex-Im Bank will assist with the financial elements of your export sale. They will working with the banks on both sides of the transaction to coordinate funds transfers, provide loan guarantees, and even pre-delivery working capital for you and post-delivery financing for your customer.

For generations, big firms have owned the franchise on global business. But shifts in technology and demographics are making the global marketplace more compelling and feasible for small businesses.

Contact these two organizations and let them help you develop a global business strategy.

The global marketplace – and 7 billion prospects – are waiting for you.

I talked more about identifying your global prospects and growing your business through exporting on my radio show this week. Take a few minutes and click on one of the links below to listen or download.

Identifying prospects for your global business strategy

Connecting with global prospects and get paid

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Identifying your small business global prospects

In case you haven’t heard, the seven billionth Earthling was born recently.

For the global marketplace, seven billion prospects are exciting. But for growing American small businesses, 96% of those folks live outside the U.S.

Once, small business growth meant expanding to the next county. But in the 21st century, shifts in technologies and demographics have made expanding outside America’s four-walls increasingly compelling. But it has also produced three elemental global business questions: Who are my prospects, how do I connect with them and how do I get paid? Let’s focus on the “Who” first, with these global stats from National Geographic” (January 2011), plus my editorializing.

  • Nineteen percent of Earthlings are Chinese, 17% are Indian and 4% are American. By 2030, the first two will invert.
  • By gender, males barely edge out females: 1.01 to 1.0. But my demographic experts report wide swings in median age among countries, which must factor in any export strategy.
  • In a historical shift, just over half of Earthlings are now urbanites. Remember, city folk use different stuff than their country cousins.
  • Here are global workplace profiles: 40% of us work in services, 38% in agriculture and 22% in industry. This means different things to different industries, but it means something to all businesses.
  • English is the international language of business, but is the first language of only 5% of global prospects. When doing business outside the U.S., be culturally sensitive and patient with the translation process.
  • Breaking news: 82% of your global prospects are literate. If you can read and write you can improve your life, which explains the growth of the middle class in emerging markets. A growing global middle class means more affluent consumers.
  • Computers are luxuries for most Earthlings. But cell phone usage is exploding across the globe and billions who never owned a PC, or used the Internet, will soon do both with a smart phone. Two words, Benjamin: global mobile.

Even though India and China are much in the news, American small businesses should consider export opportunities in our own hemisphere first, especially where trade agreements are in place, like Canada, Mexico, Panama, Colombia and Chile.

In the next article we’ll address the other two elemental questions: How to connect with global prospects and how to get paid.

Consider business growth outside of America’s four walls.

I have an extensive library of interviews with many exporting experts on Click here to listen or download any that look interesting.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

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