Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year 2014 of the Horse

May your Chinese New Year of the Horse (2014) be happy, healthy and prosperous!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

You Can Win in the Export Marketplace

Susie Hewson founded Natracare, which makes organic cotton tampons, 25 years ago because she felt there was a need the market was not meeting.  Natracare employs 10 people from its Kingswood base, generates around £11 million a year, and exports to more than 60 countries.
Susie said: "People think 'I can't enter' or 'I won't win'. [Referring to entering an award:  www.]  But it's not just for people who own a business but women who maybe work for big firms but make a contribution. I would encourage them to go for it."
Find out what it took for Susie to become a success by reading:  Successful women can help others.  In the article she also provides advice on how to win in the export marketplace.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Where Do Small Businesses Get Export Help?

You will be surprised to learn where and how small businesses get their export help.
About half of businesses that don’t export surveyed by the National Small Business Association last year said the biggest impediment was not knowing where to start. Republican lawmakers have pushed legislation that would streamline federal programs to promote foreign trade. The SBA’s Office of Advocacy has argued that better access to working capital loans would fuel exports.
Read the entire article:  Why Don't More Small Businesses Get SBA Help Selling Abroad?

(Shhhhhhh ... best kept secret to getting started in exports?  Click here.)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Whether Your Business Is Local or Global, Market It

In the article below, Corey Whelan shares the best way to market a small business effectively.  In it, she says:
"Whether your business is local or global, take the time to support good works that tie your name to a cause."
Read the entire article here.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Entrepreneurial Explosion of Digital Startups

The Economist says the "Cambrian Explosion" of digital startups is now happening in the virtual realm.
The Economist published a special report on the entrepreneurial explosion of digital startups, arguing that they are penetrating every aspect of the economy and reshaping entire industries. The author of the report, Ludwig Siegele, online business and finance editor, evaluates the significance of this “digital feeding frenzy including how startups are operated, how they are nurtured in accelerators, how they arefinanced and how they collaborate with others”.
The report also looks at the global movement surfacing from the explosion of these startups.

Learn more here.  To access the special report on tech startups, go here (requires registration).

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Packaged Goods and Community Bar: Maria's in Bridgeport, Illinois

©2014 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
I had a delightful opportunity to visit a most charming and intimate little neighborhood place this past week:  Maria's in Bridgeport, Illinois.  Whoever would have thought that when you walk into what looks like a very small packaged goods storefront that in the backend is a little bar so cozy and nicely attended.  During my visit, I listened to a young gentleman, William Luck, serve as the DJ on gospel music for the evening.  What a wonderful job he did spinning music.  Oh I was right at home.

The beer and wine selection was phenomenal too.  Here's what some fans have said about Maria's through Google' reviews:

"The bar appears to be sort of dingy and expectations are lowered upon entering, but then the drink menu is handed over by an attractive and talented mixologist and suddenly the hype is real. The drinks were amazing."

"Maria's is a great city bar. No pretense, no judgment, a diverse crowd, and really great cocktails. They are widely known for their beers, but ordering a mixed drink is a treat. They have a wide selection of organic and small batch bottles and ..."

"A must visit in the Bridgeport neighborhood, it's one of the few "slashies" still around (liquor store in front, bar in the back). The craft beer list is pages long and they frequently host beer tastings. Their cocktails aren't to be missed ..."

You must give it a try sometime.  If it isn't already, Maria's is poised to become global with its visitors.  Go here for more information.  I'll be heading back there soon.

Friday, January 24, 2014

5 Reasons to Go Global

Small and medium sized businesses that are looking to get an edge over the competition should be setting their sights globally.  So what does it take to expand your business overseas and what are the potential pitfalls and opportunities? Eugene Laney, Head of International Trade Affairs for DHL Express USA, has answers.  Here are his top five reasons to going global:

1.       Everyone else is doing it – Of the companies exporting annually 98 percent were SMEs

2.       Go where the people are – 95 percent of the world’s population live outside the US

3.       Think outside the box -  A recent study by DHL found that small and medium sized businesses selling in international markets are twice as likely to be successful than those that only operate within the U.S.

4.       Jobs, jobs, jobs – SMEs generate about half of the US’s workforce and that number can only grow

5.       Financing – Encouraging trade the US government is seeking to double the nation’s exports by 2014 by increasing funding

DHL Express recently released a research study (requires registration) that assesses the feasibility of small and medium size businesses expanding their business to the international marketplace that may be of interest to all you.  It's authored by Dr. Donald R. Lessard, Epoch Foundation Professor International Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

The White Paper, "Ready to Take Your Business Global?" can be accessed here.

Note:  In my new book, Exporting, DHL is referenced on several occasions.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

How to Achieve Faster and Bigger Global Growth in 2014

David Malpass, a contributor to Forbes, lists five steps which would materially improve the global growth outlook in 2014.

Read:  Five Big Steps Toward Faster Global Growth

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

8 Ecommerce Shipping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

A seamless international shipping method will satisfy your customers and keep them coming back.   Yet when it comes to selling through ecommerce channels, retailers typically focus on their products, the design environment, and content because that’s what sells.  Below are eight shipping mistakes most ecommerce businesses make and how to avoid them. (Hint: Knowing what to look out for in the first place is half the battle.)

(Note:  Laurel authored this article for client Pitney Bowes Global Ecommerce Solutions.)

Read the entire article:  Top Shipping Mistakes in International Ecommerce and What You Should Do Instead

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Global Small Business Expands As You Travel

According to international author, entrepreneur and speaker Daniel Priestley, by 2020, global small businesses (GSB) will be in full swing -- reaching cities worldwide, making millions of dollars, maintaining a low head count and developing global brands that make them look much bigger than they are.
Having an GSB will create an enviable lifestyle. A GSB isn’t like having a traditional, local small business that prevents the owner from traveling and limits the money they can make to the local economy.  A GSB on the contrary, expands as you travel and is only limited by the size of the micro-niche and the creativity of the team.
Find out seven (7) other follow-on "global" effects from the power of global small business to watch out for:  The Rise of The "Global Small Business."

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sometimes You Just Need to Chill

©2014 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
Have a great weekend.  Chicago weather has been chilly to say the least.  It's a good time to "chill" inside.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Global Trade Got Easier

Digital Vision/Thinkstock
According to a new report commissioned by the UK division of Vodafone Group Plc, a majority agrees that even small firms can expand beyond home market thanks to technology advances and reduced travel costs.
Sixty-eight per cent (68%) of those surveyed felt that it is now easier to trade internationally.  This positive sentiment was particularly strong in retail (71%) and in the travel, tourism & media segment (82%). Nearly two-thirds (61%) see international markets as very important for their companies’ growth. 
Another key finding from the report is that UK businesses have reinvented themselves during the last five years of a stagnant economy to exploit the opportunities of the global marketplace.

Read the entire article:  British businesses says global trade has become easier

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Are You An International Trade Champion?

What a wonderful honor I had to interview Ayse Oge, an award-winning international trade consultant, speaker and instructor who currently works as a counselor and presenter on international trade at the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), in Glendale, California.

Oge is a true international trade champion in every sense of the word. Here’s what she has to say about the global economy and what it takes to become a champion at international business.

Oh, and it can't hurt to find out whether you are an international trade champion yourself!

Read the entire interview:  International Trade Champions

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Reason Borders Seduce Me

Music transcends borders.  In this case, a provocative article by Anna Badkhen for Foreign Policy shows on how the U.S. slammed shut a border crossing to Mexico after 9/11, isolating and starving a village on the other side.  The passage reopened but not without consequences.

Some snippets from the article:
Borders are where hope and fear, virtue and disgrace reach their utmost density, where our most rigid Manichaean impulse -- to bisect the world into Self and Other -- finds a perfect outlet.
And more to entice you to read:
There is another reason borders seduce me: They are mirrors of the boundaries we carry within, of our inner compasses and intrusions. Even a beloved can be a frontier. I once had a lover who lived by a border, and he was forever redrawing the boundaries of our love.
Read the entire article (requires quick registration):  Ragged Edges

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Not Your Father's Exporting Business

Oh how I love that line, "Not Your Father's Exporting Business," in Anita Campbell's phenomenal review on my new exporting book.  Anita is no ordinary blogger.  She is the founder of THE most popular small business blog on the planet:  Small Biz Trends.  She says this about Exporting:  The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably:


"Not Your Father’s Exporting Business

When you think of an exporting business, what pops into your mind?  Perhaps it is a vision of heavy, old-style manufactured goods being piled on container ships to slowly sail to another country.
But as Exporting outlines, going global today may be about exporting software.  Or it may be a purely service-based exporting business, such as consulting or design services.  It may be about selling on eBay or some other e-commerce platform, and shipping crafts or artwork through the mail or a delivery company.
That’s one of the things I like about this book.  It breaks all stereotypes of traditional exporting, and examines the way entrepreneurs are doing business in today’s world."

Anita ends her review with:
"If you intend to grow your business beyond the U.S. border, Exporting: The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably is a great place to start." - Anita Campbell, founder of Small Business Trends
And a big personal public thank you to Anita!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Social Entrepreneurship Is Coming of Age Globally

Social entrepreneurship is coming of age globally.  Why?
"I'm seeing a lot of young people that want to achieve more than just profitability," said Seema Pissaris, a College of Business professor at FIU.

"Purpose is very important. I'm seeing that change even in the last two years. It's becoming such a phenomenon," she said, attributing the increase in part to the explosion of technology that puts social issues in front of the students daily.

Read more here:
Read the entire article:  Social entrepreneurs aim to solve society's big challenges

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Farewell to Dominick's in Chicago

©2013 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
Saying farewell to Dominick's (a Safeway Inc. subsidiary) in Chicago. What is mind-boggling is that neither website talks about the store closings.  We will pretend it is not happening.
Dominick’s owner, California-based Safeway Inc., announced Oct. 10 that it would exit the Chicago-area market by Saturday, saying the Dominick’s operations were the lowest-performing of Safeway’s business divisions and a drag on the company’s finances. The 72 area Dominick’s stores employed 6,600 people.  - Source:  Chicago Sun-Times
Safeway has kissed the Chicago market good-bye on grocery sales.

Friday, January 10, 2014

eCommerce 2013 Holiday Sales and the Impact from Big Data

What worked and didn't work for commerce merchants in 2013?  Cyber Monday became the biggest online shopping day in history with a 20.6 percent increase in sales over 2012, according to the IBM 2013 Holiday Benchmark Report.

The article below addresses five key ways Big Data impacted the 2013 holiday shopping season.

Read the entire article here.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

According to OECD Survey, Shanghai Ranks First in Maths, Science and Reading

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock
Asian countries nailed their top positions on global education recently, with students from Shanghai ranking first in maths, science and reading.
The three-yearly report by the Paris-based [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development] (OECD), based on surveys of more than half a million 15-year-olds in 65 countries, saw Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea take the top five top places for maths skills.
Read the entire article here.

More on the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey here.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Global Education: You Are Never Too Young to Get Started!

Blend Images/Thinkstock
The world of education is changing.
A half-century ago, high school graduates could earn a family-sustaining wage in the steel mills or apparel factories. Today, even traditional blue-collar jobs require specialized training. The credentials of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) workers range from certificates earned in career technical schools or community colleges to doctorates in highly specialized fields.
Read the entire article:  STEM education key to the future

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Cloud Storage Startup Box Goes Global

Box, a cloud storage firm launched from a college dorm in 2005, has raised $100 million in new capital to help fund a global expansion.
The latest funding gives Box, which competes with firms like Dropbox as well as Google and Microsoft, a value of some $2 billion, according to the news blog TechCrunch.
Box desires to reach enterprises everywhere.

Read entire article:  Online storage start-up firm raises $100 million to go global

Monday, January 06, 2014

Gray Market: Exporting BMWs from the US to China

As Quartz indicates in the headline, this may be illegal:

How to export BMWs from the US to China for fun and profit (Note:  this is possibly illegal).

Operating in a gray market is a form of international trade that still exists and is oftentimes referred to as a “parallel market.” If you want to get a better handle on what parallel importing is, I provide an example of parallel importing and touch on the lawfulness of parallel importations here.

Learn more about how people are making money off illicitly trading automobiles:

A Profitable Trade:  Illicitly Shipping BMWs to China (

Before you attempt to export or import cars, check with the manufacturer to see if they have a "no export" provision in their policy and also check the agreement with the car dealership to make sure they don't have a clause within it stating "you agree not to export this car at all or within a specific period of time."

Saturday, January 04, 2014

My Exporting Books Arrived!

©2014 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
Nothing beats receiving your first fresh-off-the-press print copies of a book you've worked so hard on.  Mine arrived last week and what a perfect way to celebrate a new year and new book!

In case you missed these elsewhere, here are two media clips:

What Entrepreneurs Should Know About Exporting

China Law Blog
The Definitive Guide to Exporting

"But now I can say that if you are looking for a definitive guide on how to succeed at exporting, check out Ms. Delaney’s fresh off the presses book, Exporting: The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably. This book is not only definitive, it is comprehensive. Heck it’s 552 pages!

But what I most like about the book is how it raises and clearly answers virtually all of the key questions that arise from exporting and how it constantly cites to and discusses real world examples. That it has a whole chapter on “getting paid” is testament to its being rooted in the real world." - Dan Harris, China Law Blog

Buy the book:

Friday, January 03, 2014

Romania Entrepreneurs Eye International Expansion in 2014

According to a study conducted by Citibank, one third of the Romanian companies, mainly from manufacturing, technology and consumer goods industries, are considering international expansion in 2014 to increase business.

Study:  One Third of Romanian Companies Eye International Expansion in the Coming Year

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Make the Leap to Export in 2014

Find out what the trends are for entrepreneurs and small business owners in 2014 and learn what might be more important than you think in the new year.
We have found two wonderful opportunities as we have grown. One is that we have gotten deeply engaged with the state’s export program. We have people who may be selling to Mexico or Canada and can make that leap abroad. We are working on a contract with the MEDC related to first customer exporters. There’s a lot of energy about the fact that small businesses can export. There are a lot of great partners we work with such as the Van Andel Global Trade Center and the U.S. Export Assistance Center.
Read the entire article:  Small business forecast:  Carol Lopucki, State Director, Michigan Small Business Technology Development Center, Grand Rapids

Don't forget, to learn about exporting, read:  "Exporting:  The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably."

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Bright and Prosperous 2014!

©2014 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.

Happy 2014!

May It Be Bright and Prosperous