It’s common knowledge that the world is growing smaller and smaller every day and this movement could not be more true than in the business world. While running a small business is already a massive undertaking, the need to think globally from the start is vital if you want your company to grow to its utmost potential.
Think global from the get go
It’s hard to underestimate the importance of going global. Wells Fargo’s recent International Business Indicator Survey showed that 69 percent of U.S. businesses are conducting business internationally and 54 percent of mid-size U.S. businesses see international markets as increasingly important to their financial success.
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The global trend is not subsiding anytime soon. The barriers that held companies back from going global -- like worldwide communication and slow logistical processes -- have been all but eliminated due to technological advances, making it easier than ever for a company to adopt a global mentality from their inception.
There are also significant financial benefits when it comes to going global. A recent McKinsey study shows that while global U.S. companies only account for less than 1 percent of all U.S. companies, they earned 25 percent of total U.S. gross profits. Expanding your product or service globally can also help developing countries grow their economy with the introduction of new jobs and sales. There is a snowball effect when expanding your company internationally -- the more countries your company is in, the more potential customers you have. By growing your infrastructure, your company follows.
The act of globalization is an extremely competitive strategy as well. If you are somewhere your competitors aren’t, that is a major business advantage. Simply put, if you want your company to grow, you need to consider globalization as a realistic opportunity.
Whether or not a company launches as global is irrelevant. The key here is that companies should think globally from the beginning to minimize hardships once they are ready to take their business beyond their country's borders.
Here are a few ways to start thinking global at a company of any size:
Research early and often. Regardless of whether your company started today or 10 years ago, following what is happening in your space throughout the global landscape is critical. Even if you don’t see the worldwide companies within your space as competitors right now, it is beneficial to see what they are doing in another country and how it differs from your company’s strategy. Understanding your space on a global scale from the beginning will help you make smarter decisions when you do go global, such as choosing the right time for your expansion.
Hire internationally. Startups have some of the most diverse workforces in business and you should implement the same hiring techniques when you begin your entrepreneurial journey. Not only will having an internationally diverse staff give you a different perspective when developing and marketing your product or service but having internal knowledge of different countries and cultures will provide you with an advantage in today’s global economy.
Head to the cloud: While your company will benefit in many ways by switching to the cloud for your data and IT infrastructure, it is necessary for the potential globalization of your company. When it comes time to go global, there will be very little logistical hurdles in the expansion, as your data is already stored in the cloud and is accessible to anyone, anywhere. This will save your company time and money in the long-run.
Go mobile: The march towards mobile is never-ending, and it is imperative that your company has a mobile strategy both internally (for ease of workflow) and externally. Every company has to have a solid mobile element if they expect to still be relevant in five years. Without it, companies isolate the one billion people that use mobile as a primary internet access point. If your company cannot reach a 1/7 of the world’s population, there will be serious hurdles to cross when going global.