Thursday, February 28, 2008

How Small Italian Firms Married Style to Globalism

I love this article that was published in the Wall Street Journal on Monday because it's about how a small wedding-dress maker Giovanna Sbiroli SRL built its brand and customer base by serving the Italian market and then realized that if they did not go global -- aggressively and soon -- they risked having to shut their doors. But they didn't. Here's why.

There is a Global Small Business 101 lesson for all of us in this.

Special thanks to Rosamaria Mancini who wrote the quality piece for the WSJ.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

PayPal Jumps on the Global Band Wagon

Not sure if you have to be a registered PayPal user to access this. Needless to say it's all about PayPal jumping on the global band wagon and offering advice on:

Why export?
How to go global with the PayPal guide to selling overseas.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Globalization and Cultural Diversity

Is globalization making the world more homogeneous? And if so, does Hollywood share the blame?

Does Spider-man play into this?

Find out here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Global Education

Knowledge is power. Kick it up a notch for the education of globalization. More universities are taking it seriously and offering programs to help individuals do business and innovate with different cultures.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Young Student Entrepreneurs Take On the World

Global Student Entrepreneur Awards ( The GSEA program recognizes the world's outstanding undergraduate student entrepreneurs. Eligible students can visit the website to download an application form for the 2008 awards.

Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization( CEO is the premier global entrepreneurship network servicing chapters at 134 colleges and universities. Students can register online for the national conference.

Students in Free Enterprise ( SIFE is a global nonprofit group active in more than 40 countries. Through regional and national competiions, SIFE presents awards in its core areas of market economies, entrepreneurship, personal financial success skills and business ethics.

Young Money ( The website's entrepreneur channel features expert advice, student profiles and small business calculators.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Social-Networking Sites Going Global

MySpace, Facebook and other social-networking sites aren't just slugging it out for customers in the USA. They're expanding aggressively overseas, where a vast majority of Internet users live.

Find out more here.

And don't forget to join our new wiki.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Next-Gen Artisans Fuel New Entrepreneurial Economy

Another one of my favorite reports has just been released: The third installment of the Intuit Future of Small Business Report™, which looks ahead 10 years and examines the prospects, influences and profiles of small business. The report is sponsored by Intuit Inc. and authored by the Institute for the Future.

Check this out:

The Next Wave of Globalization Will be Driven by Small Business

The number of U.S. small businesses trading globally will substantially increase, fueled by cross-border business opportunities, technological advances leading to broader social networks, and reductions in export costs. More specifically:

• Almost half of U.S. small businesses will be involved in global trade by 2018. As the costs associated with doing business globally continue to decrease, small businesses will make no distinction between domestic and international commerce.

• Social networks will fuel borderless commerce. Online and offline social networks will help remove soft trade barriers, such as language and cultural differences. These networks will introduce small businesses to new markets and facilitate cross-border trade.

• Globalization will increase small business diversity and amplify its economic value. Small business diversity will help increase market growth in the U.S. and abroad and will unlock new opportunities for all small business owners.

Clearly, borderless business is going to become BIG.

Special kudos to the main authors of the report: Steve King, Anthony Townsend, and Carolyn Ockels who also, in addition to writing the Intuit report, publish a nifty blog at Small Business Labs.

For a shortcut to the report, visit here and look for Phase Three: The New Entrepreneurial Economy.

Note: We contributed a tad to the report.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Going Online to Lure Foreign Shoppers

Retailers in the U.S. are turning to the Internet to sell to shoppers abroad in hopes of easing the pain of an economic slowdown at home. As featured here -- preview only unfortunately -- in the WSJ 2/8/08.

When I read the article entitled, "Going Online to Lure Foreign Shoppers," I could not help but think of the days when Sears Roebuck published the one and only world's largest print catalog offering everything from toys to garden supplies to the best all cotton underwear for the entire family. These two clips provide context on what I'm talking about: Sears archive and a book about the catalog. If the catalog were still around, you can bet Sears would be thinking about luring foreign shoppers to it.

Could it be that retailers are just now thinking along the same line as Sears back then? Isn't that what Amazon has become: the world's biggest online catalog? Sears had its global day in the sun too (refer here when they formed a Sears World Trade company in the 80s) attempting to become the world's biggest global supplier but it fell far short of shareholder expectations. Since they had the global suppliers already in place, why not offer retail products on a wholesale basis to the world? Sounded like a good idea at the time but it didn't work out. One forgets just how complicated it can be. Even now with supplier chain management tools in place it's difficult to manage.

Where am I going with this? Don't think about piece-mealing exports on your products through someone else's efforts. Say you sell Macy's. And Macy's is thinking about luring more international customers to its online store (as the article states). Great. You see more of your widgets sold all over the world so how could you not be happy about that? Now you can attend business networking events and claim you are really, really global instead of just global -- through Macy's initiatives, that is.

But wait a minute. Wouldn't you rather sell a million units of your own product to a key customer in an overseas market and pocket the profit than sell a handful of units a month through Macy's and share in the profit? Just think what happens when you open up to other market opportunities?

One of the ways I moved a lot of products -- a couple of 40 ft. containerload quantities every month -- back in the days when I was exporting gourmet foodstuff was to work with importing wholesalers in foreign markets where I wanted to sell products. Those importing wholesalers sold to all the mass merchandisers, independent mom and pop stores and supermarket chains in their homeland. All I had to do was get product to them for marketing and distribution! My oh my was I on a roll and a very fulfilled small business exporter.

And you can be too. Regardless of whether you are selling direct or indirect, your customers will tend to fall into five categories: overseas agent or representative (importer), distributor or importing wholesaler (which mine were), overseas retailer, overseas end-user, and trading company.

Take a look here at how the process is managed.

Friday, February 08, 2008

6 Questions For Your Global Shipper

I wrote an article, "Leaving the Country" for PARCEL magazine that talks about the reluctance of small businesses to expand their businesses internationally and why. One of the key concerns that always rises to the top of the heap is: "How will I ship my product? I'm clueless."

That issue is addressed near the end of the article with six questions small businesses should ask to help find the right shipping partner.

No. 1: Are you familiar with my industry and the markets where I want to do business?

The article along with the other five questions can be found here.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Got the Urge to Go Global?

Well you've come to the right place -- that's for sure!

Read about how a chief executive plans to take the Harlem Globetrotters more global.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Global Misunderstandings

Fascinating stuff! Don't miss a bit. I even added my own little story to the discussion list of working with people around the globe. Add yours too, if you have the time.

Here's the originally published article: Global-Market Woes Are More Personality Than Nationality. Quite a few people thought Jared, the author, was way off base. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

New GlobeTrade Community Wiki!

Please join us on our new GlobeTrade Community Wiki ( -- your place to build, connect, communicate and grow global with your peers!

We hope you like what you see, learn a lot in the process and discover there are no boundaries to growing your business.

Sign up (takes just a minute). Create a profile. Add your photo. And start net-borderbustering.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Ask For The United States Dollar Rate

This never would have occurred to me. Dependent upon where you are traveling to or from, ask for the U.S. dollar rate if it's to your advantage. Good idea. And another interesting tip mentioned in the same article is the Small Luxury Hotels of the World where they do allow you to ask for U.S. dollar rates but not so sure -- even with the weak dollar -- the room rates are affordable to all global small business owners. Worthwhile read though.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Gear Up For Globalization: Answers From Real People (#3)

Question from:

Laurel Delaney, Founder and President, GlobeTrade:

"Do you think Ex-Im Bank will cut back or be more willing to extend loans to SMEs (that qualify on exports) this year in light of a possible recession?"

Answer from:

Tess Morrison, Director, Illinois International Trade Center, University of Illinois, College of Business, Champaign, Illinois.
"Exim (and SBA) will not cut back for SMEs, whether or not there is a recession. Exim is committed to serving at least 20% of their business as SMEs.

All companies need to adhere to the financial guidelines, but they have as much to do with the buyers as the sellers. Exim must (by law) act as a bank. For example, they can only do business where there is a reasonable expectation of repayment. The onus is on the buyer. Otherwise, we, the U.S. taxpayer has to pick up the slack. Exim looks at the seller to make certain that they do not appear about to go under (to give an excuse to not repay by the buyer.) Exim is committed to SMEs."
Delaney (clarification):

"So Exim will not be in the same league as all the other banks on being super cautious with loans to SMEs due to the mortgage meltdown?"

"That's correct. They don't do the same kind of lending as regular banks. Their focus is on the buyer being able to repay so that we the U.S. taxpayer isn't stuck with the repayment."
Note: I am still waiting to hear back from two other experts (one from Chicago and one from headquarter office) at Exim Bank on the same question.