Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Mirror to the Sky: Cloud Gate

©2014 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
©2014 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
Cloud Gate is a public 110-ton elliptical sculpture designed by British artist Anish Kapoor, that is the centerpiece of the AT&T Plaza at Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois.

The sculpture reflects Chicago's famous skyline and the clouds above. In the case of the lower photo, if you look closely to the left, that is me - Laurel Delaney - taking a closeup of the Cloud Gate.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Global Entrepreneurial Mindset is Always Optimistic

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Amy Schultz, instructor of entrepreneurship and project-based learning at Feather River College in Quincy, California says, "I would describe the entrepreneur mindset as – first and foremost – optimism. Because that will drive everything else."  She goes on to say, "“It gives you hope that whatever your challenge is, you will be able to overcome it. Optimism is what attracts other people. People are naturally attracted to optimists and people with great attitudes.”

Read:  Learning entrepreneurship on a global economy scale

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Take It Global in 2015

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I wrote the article below originally for About.com's Import and Export site and then decided to feature it on LinkedIn where I am a key influencer.  That's when it went viral.  On my Twitter account @LaurelDelaney, it was the first time I was "trending in Australia!" Even Pulse picked up the article as a special feature.  Have a look:

7 Unexpected Reasons to Take Your Business Global in 2015

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Global Ecommerce Sales Are Expected to Reach $1.4 Trillion by 2016

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According to a report from Deloitte Digital, global ecommerce sales are expected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2016.  Retailers are finally recognizing the huge opportunity of going global with their business.

Discover what the four key trends (drivers) are in global ecommerce growth.

Here's one:
Increase in global shipping: International shipping is seeing its growth driven primarily through flexible shipping options and fulfillment services that provide retailers low-cost/low-risk options for gaining exposure in new areas. With the ability to outsource fulfillment, retailers can reach customers beyond their domestic market without having to invest in building a global infrastructure.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How to Juice Up Exports

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The Obama administration promised to double exports in five years - from 2009-2014.  But we are far short of that goal.  Still, some products including fossil fuels have surged despite policy barriers at the border.

Read:  Obama Looks to Jump-Start Export Push
Note:  If every small business owner had the opportunity to read Exporting:  The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably, we would have a better chance at doubling exports in the NEXT five years.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Today in Global Small Business: Singles Day, Divorce Day, Pets Day; Can China Teach the World How to Shop?

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What's affecting me, my clients, my colleagues and other global small business owners:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Hourglass of Our Life

©2014 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
"The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it." - Niccolo Machiavelli

Friday, November 14, 2014

Innocent Until Proven Guilty: U.S. Export-Import Bank

How do you define what is a small (vs. BIG) business?  Is it based on the size of revenues?  Number of employees?  Apparently everyone, including Ex-Im Bank, is struggling with that very same question.  The latest on the trials and tribulations of the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

Ex-Im Misleads Congress and the Public About Helping Small Businesses
But an investigation by the Reuters news agency has found that potentially hundreds of the subsidy recipients categorized as “small businesses” by Ex-Im are actually very large enterprises or units of multinational conglomerates.
Exclusive:  Export-Import Bank admits errors in small biz data - Yahoo News
The U.S. Export-Import Bank has mischaracterized potentially hundreds of large companies and units of multinational conglomerates as small businesses, a flaw in its record keeping that could undermine the export lender's survival strategy.
Export-Import Bank's list of 'small' businesses draws fire from conservatives | TribLIVE
A comparison of about 6,000 businesses characterized by Ex-Im as “small” with information supplied by corporate data collector Dun & Bradstreet, which Ex-Im uses to vet applicants, and other sources turns up about 200 companies that appear to be mislabeled and many more whose classification is uncertain.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

How to Build a High-Performing and Truly Entrepreneurial Global Business

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Ever heard of organizing a company around a conceptual framework?  That's the way Haier's leader, China philosopher-CEO Zhang Ruimin, describes how he built a winning global company by continually reframing his management philosophy.  Haier is the world's fastest-growing appliance maker.  Other things Haier excels at:

"... the largest market share in “white goods” worldwide—about 14 percent of a market with at least seven other major competitors. It is also a world leader in business innovation and one of the largest non-state-owned enterprises in China."

Art Kleiner, Editor in Chief of strategy+business writes a wonderful spread on Zhang and his success tips for running Haier.  Before we get to it, the following statement encapsulates how Zhang pulled off leading a high-performing and truly entrepreneurial global business:
Zhang has steadily initiated shifts in the company’s structure, moving consistently toward participative management, decentralized decision making, and autonomous but accountable work teams and platforms. 
Read the entire article:  China's Philosopher - CEO Zhang Ruimin

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How South Africa Is Building a Robust Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

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With the launch of Startup Nations South Africa (SA), the initiative joins a global network of Startup Nations such as Startup Britain, Startup Chile, Startup Malaysia, Startup China, Startup Norway, Startup Australia and more recently Startup Brazil, Startup Vietnam and Startup Korea.

The Startup Nations South Africa initiative is a collaborative effort by founding partners, The Innovation Hub, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Wits Business School, aimed at contributing towards building a robust entrepreneurship ecosystem and vibrant sustainable entrepreneurship culture.

Global entrepreneurship is crucial to the vitality and growth of a country and its people.

Read more:  SA Small Business Minister Launches Startup Nations South Africa Initiative

Photo:  Capetown, South Africa

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Globally, SMEs Are More Optimistic

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Zurich Insurance recently surveyed 3,800 businesses spanning across 19 countries (200 businesses in each country). Participants were asked to identify up to three out of a possible 15 activities and challenges in their business over the previous 12 months - from expanding activities to target new customers in their domestic market.  UAE-based SMEs were found to be more positive than competitors in other countries about reaching out to new customers, the study showed.
About one third of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) believed “acquiring new customers is their biggest opportunity at the present time, indicating high levels of confidence in the strength of the local economy,” Zurich said in its 2014 Global SME Survey yesterday.
The 2014 Global SME Survey results are as follows: 

Related article: Small businesses confident in strength of local economy

News release:  SMEs globally see mixed opportunities for growth

Monday, November 10, 2014

Today in Global Small Business: How to Copy Warren Buffett's Global Success

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What's affecting me, my clients, my colleagues and other global small business owners:
*One of Buffett's fundamentals:  Encourage small businesses to grow and expand one step at a time, even if haphazardly, as the accumulation of individual achievement can add up to huge enterprises, like the many success stories in building Dairy Queen