Archive for the 'Globalization' Category

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!

Small business, online customers and local search

One of the most troubling statistics I’ve seen lately revealed that approximately half of small businesses STILL don’t have a website.  If you’re one of those companies that have chosen to disregard the billions of prospects who are online around the world, I have two words to say to you that should get you motivated:  Local search.

Every second, zillions of people are typing, tapping, thumbing or, in the case of smart phones, saying into their computing devices (computers, cellphones, etc.) search words that are the objects of their immediate desire, plus one more thing: Where is the closest place I can find this?  Local search.

Pepperoni pizza in Peoria.  Model trains in Monroe. Wedding planners in Wausau. Local search.

Are the doors of your business open to the world of online customers? Recently, on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about finding success online with Stephen Pierce. Stephen is an Internet multi-millionaire who runs an empire of online businesses and three different coaching clubs. Take a few minutes to listen to what Stephen has to say, and be sure to leave your comments. Listen Live! Download, Too!

Developing your small business exporting plan

Here’s an interesting fact: If you’re an American small business owner, 95% of your prospects live outside the U.S. Of course, there was a time when that stat meant little to most small firms. But in the 21st century, the Internet brings the world to your virtual doorstep.
Yes, if you sell something online to a customer in another country, that counts as exporting.  And Internet sales is a great way to develop a crawl-walk-run exporting strategy.  But when you’re ready to start thinking more in bulk and less in onesies, you’ll be happy to learn that there are organizations that are standing by to make full-fledged exporting almost as easy for a small business as selling on eBay.
Recently, Doug Barry joined me on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, to discuss how to develop and execute a comprehensive exporting plan with help from the government organizations, including prospecting, execution and the financial elements (like you getting paid). Doug is Director of Marketing and Communications for the U.S. Commercial Service, the global business solutions unit of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce. He is also a very important member of my Brain Trust.
Take a few minutes to listen to this conversation and let us know what we can do to help you execute your exporting plans. Listen Live! Download, Too!

John Naisbitt and Doris Naisbitt on China’s Megatrends

Almost 30 years ago, the world was introduced to the research and prophecies of John Naisbitt, when he published his landmark book, Megatrends. I read Megatrends around 1984 and it helped me see that the world I was comfortable in wasn’t going to be the reality of my future. Not too many days have gone by since then without my seeing marketplace evidence of John’s enduring cardinal prophecy, which states: the more high tech humans create the more high touch we will require.

Over the years, I have applied this guidepost in my business and have used “high-tech/high-touch” as an effective metaphor – always with attribution – in the written and spoken products I have produced. So it was with great excitement that I had the opportunity to interview John a few years back on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. And recently, I had the honor of helping John and his wife, Doris, launch their new book, China’s Megatrends. They’ve spent the past several years studying the Asian universe and most recently have focused on this region’s 800lb gorilla, which we talk about during this interview.

Should the world fear or embrace China’s emergence? What about China’s legacy of communism? Will China make the rules others will follow? What are the chinks in China’s socio-economic armor? These are some of the topics John, Doris and I discuss. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from these two important voices about how global business will be conducted. And please be sure to leave your own thoughts, which I will make sure John and Doris see.

Here is my recent interview with John and Doris Naisbitt:  Listen Live! Download, Too!

Here is my 2006 interview with John Naisbitt:  Listen Live! Download, Too!

How birth rate and generational waves impact our future

Could regional birth rates and demographic anomalies impact global economic competition? Do China, Japan, Russia and Europe have more to fear from within because of demographic and generational wave issues than from global competition without?

China’s “One child” policy has manifested in the abortion of 400 million live births in the past three decades - most of them female - effectively cutting a hole in a generation. Japan’s birthrate has been declining in recent years. Europe’s birthrate has been declining, plus it faces significant challenges with the growing Muslim immigrant population that is not being assimilated into European societies.

Could the western hemisphere - the Americas - become a self-sustaining, self-contained trade zone?

Recently, on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, long-time Brain Trust member, Ken Gronbach joined me to talk about why we need to include demographic realities into our long-term business planning, both within our countries as well as globally. Ken is a demographer, futurist and author of The Age Curve. Take a few minutes to listen to the fascinating report Ken delivered in this interview.

Unilateral carbon restrictions will hurt the U.S. economy

In April of this year, I posted an article here titled, “What if the climate change zealots are wrong?” where I proposed that a unilateral carbon cap-and-trade policy by the government would:

1. Unilaterally hurt every American citizen by what would be tantamount to taxing our use of carbon beyond the taxes we already pay, like gas tax, for example.
2. Unilaterally hurt U.S. businesses by making them less competitive with other nations, especially China and India, which have not interest in carbon reduction.
3. Actually harm the global environment because industrial production would move from the U.S. to China and India, where carbon efficiency is much poorer than in the U.S.

Since that post, a few things have happened:

1. The American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), a/k/a Cap and Trade and the Waxman-Markey bill, passed the House and there is a companion bill in the Senate.
2. When the G8 global leaders met recently in Italy, they did not agree on any near-term carbon reductions, only a goal set 40 years hence. What does that say about a multi-lateral commitment to carbon reduction?
3. In a Senate committee hearing recently, during questioning by Oklahoma’s Sen. James Inhofe (R), EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson confirmed that unilateral carbon reduction by the U.S. would have no effect on the global climate.

As I wrote in April, carbon reduction protocols without China and India participating are useless environmentally and a competitive disadvantage for the U.S. According to Sen. Inhofe, “With China and India recently issuing statements of defiant opposition to mandatory emissions controls, acting alone through the job-killing Waxman-Markey bill would impose severe economic burdens on American consumers, businesses and families, all without any impact on climate.”

Well said, Senator. Perhaps he reads my blog.

One thing you won’t see in the mainstream media is reporting on the U.S. carbon footprint per dollar of GDP, which has been decreasing significantly for the past 20 years. Proof of this is the fact that oil price spikes in recent years have had less of an impact on the economy as in decades past.

Remember, my argument isn’t whether the earth is warming or who is causing it, but rather that the United States should address this issue without doing unilateral harm to ourselves. We have the ability to lead the world in alternative fuels for the next century if we encourage innovation instead of unilaterally punishing consumption.

Here is a link to the previous post. I look forward to your comments.

Click here for previous post “What if the climate change zealots are wrong.”

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