Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saying Farewell to Ina's in Chicago

©2014 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
After 33 years in the food business, Ina's closed it's doors on December 31, 2013.  I captured the photo (as shown above) a couple of weeks ago when I was in the neighborhood and thought I better grab it while I could before the sign is taken down.  Who doesn't have wonderful memories of eating at Ina's?

Ina Pinkney fed Chicagoans for more than three decades.  We will miss her delicious food and wonderful, caring spirit.  If you want to hang with Ina outside of the restaurant world, visit her on Twitter (@breakfastqueen1).

For more information, visit:  Chicago dining news:  Ina Pinkney retiring; Ina's to close

Friday, May 30, 2014

How to Enter the Russian B2B Market

Photo permission:  The RMAA Group.  All rights reserved.
Vadim Tylik, Founder and President of The RMAA Group, oversees a blog about successful market strategies in Russia and has just launched a new free 15-page white book:  "How Can a Foreign Company Enter the Russian B2B Market?" (requires two-second email registration).

What you will learn:
  • Understand the peculiarities of the regional market to better strategize.
  • Develop clear procedures on how to enter B2B Russian market.
  • Master successful tips and tools on how to conquer the Russian B2B market.
  • Attract more leads in Russia.
  • Discover what the basis of success is in Russian market.
  • Spend your advertising budget effectively.
Download the paper:  "How Can a Foreign Company Enter the Russian B2B Market?"

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Black Swan Start-Ups and Where They Flock To

In the Five Cs of Locating a Start-Up, Dr. Sami Mahroum, Founding Director of INSEAD’s Innovation and Policy Initiative, talks about why you should start your Internet company in California and how “Black swan” start-ups have cut paths beyond the hi-tech heartlands.

If you are wondering what the Five Cs are:
  1. Cost - factors such as rents, living costs, wages
  2. Convenience – including the entrepreneurs’ familiarity with a place, government policies, regulatory and legal environment, proximity to key markets and technological readiness
  3. Community – networks and social capital
  4. Calibre  - the quality of the workforce and infrastructure, such as roads, airports and ICT
  5. Creativity – the resourcefulness and ingenuity of the local community.
"Essentially, it is up to entrepreneurs to match the opportunities and challenges of a location with their products’ capabilities and needs.  Entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed if they are able to develop strategies and business plans that leverage local advantages and make up for deficiencies by tapping into surpluses in other locations," says Dr. Mahroum.

Read the entire article:  The Five Cs of Locating a Start-Up

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Put Yourself in the Place and Space to Get the Lesson You Need

We're taking a break from the usual information on going global and instead offering a different kind of encouragement.  Below is a link to six inspiring commencement speeches that will give you the motivation you need to keep moving forward with your international expansion efforts.  After all, each of us from time to time run up against speed bumps on the road to global success.  The trick is to stay the course until you find what you love.
"But if you ask the right question—not why is this happening, but what is this here to teach me—it puts you in the place and space to get the lesson you need." - Oprah Winfrey, Stanford University, 2008.
Find your inspiration here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Do What You Do Best and Outsource the Rest

There's a trend among small business owners trying to keep up with competitors worldwide: forming global strategic partnerships and outsourcing certain peripheral aspects of their business.  Startups are hiring tech companies that offer more niches services like building websites and analyzing data for cheap and easy solutions.

As Gene Marks, Inc. columnist and owner of the Marks Group, a firm that provides technology and consulting services to small and medium-size businesses, says:
"One of the smartest things I've been seeing companies do is that they do what they do best [their core competency] and outsource the rest," Marks said. "Companies are now thinking more about partners they can work with to provide the type of technologies, services, and solutions they cannot do or don't have time to do."
Read the entire article:  Small Businesses Should Focus Only on What They Do Best

Monday, May 26, 2014

Honoring Those Who Have Served on Memorial Day

©2014 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
Memorial Day is a time to remember all the men and women who have served our country so bravely.  Many honor those who died by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings or attending a parade.

One World War II vet, Bill Howland, 89, of Lisle, Illinois, tries not to remember this day and says:

"I try to prevail upon them [when he speaks to local high school students] to implore our government to stay out of wars … we have more important things to do than shoot people up all over the world," he said.

Read the entire article:  WWII vet remembers one that was left behind

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Enjoy the Holiday Weekend

@2014 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
"First we eat and then we do everything else." - M.F.K. Fisher

(Photo:  Enchiladas De Camaron from Fiesta Mexicana Chicago in Lincoln Park)

Friday, May 23, 2014

How to Take Your Business Global Through a Chinese Marketplace

Where do the international opportunities exist for U.S. retailers in China?  What challenges occur when retailers sell to China?  Where are Chinese consumers buying online?  These are among some of the questions addressed in the article below.  If you are selling clothing and apparel, then you are entering into one of the fastest-growing e-commerce verticals in the world.  Prepare accordingly.

Learn more:  Taking Your Business Global With Chinese Marketplace

Thursday, May 22, 2014

How to Expand Globally Without Breaking the Bank

Zack Urlocker, former COO of helpdesk software leader Zendesk, was asked back in 2012 how to expand globally without breaking the bank. Like Salesforce, Zendesk at that time did about a third of its revenue internationally. But unlike Salesforce, Zendesk started out in Europe, and moved its headquarters to Silicon Valley.

Going global has the potential to increase revenue and help businesses find new markets.  It also, according to the article, has the potential to become an immense distraction.

Read the entire article:  7 Rules for Expanding Globally Without Going Broke

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

9 Trends Reshaping the Global Business Environment

This is Deloitte's second annual “Business Trends 2014: Navigating the next wave of globalization” report that explores nine trends that are currently reshaping the business environment - driven by long-term, potentially irreversible, shifts in the global economy.

The nine trends are all directly related to one key question:  What is going on with the global economy?

The report is broken down into three sections:

Section 1:  New consumers
Section 2:  New collaborations
Section 3:  New leadership

Read the report by downloading it to your device here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

How Companies Deal With Import Quotas

In the article below, I discuss "The Great Quota Hustle" published in Forbes (2000) and then I profile three sourcing companies: Li & Fung, Connor and Esquel Group.  My intent here is that you can glean lessons on how the big guys run their sourcing companies and come up with some new ideas on your own to better manage your supply chain.

Read the entire article:  How Companies Master the Quota System

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Life Is About Moments

“I've always believed in savoring the moments. In the end, they are the only things we'll have.” - Anna Godbersen, The Luxe

Photo credits:  @2014 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Will Global Poverty Ever Be Eliminated Entirely?

In Linda Yueh's "The rise of the global middle class [6.18.13]," she purports that the new global middle class in China, India and Brazil have propelled their economies to equal the size of the industrialized G7 countries and that by 2050, they are forecast to account for nearly half of world output, far surpassing the G7.

What is middle class?
According to organisations like the United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), it's someone who earns or spends $10 to $100 per day.
Will the trend last?  As the article says at the end, "The prize, which many will hope is in reach, is that global poverty is eliminated entirely within another couple of decades."

Read the entire article:  The rise of the global middle class  Be sure to read all the reader's comments - oftentimes more telling than the article itself.

More current pieces on the rise of the middle class:  The Swelling MiddleHow We Can Strengthen the World's Fragile Middle Class (requires free registration) and The "Fragile Middle"

Thursday, May 15, 2014

What's NEXT for the National Export Initiative? Try NEI/NEXT.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced NEI/NEXT – a data-based, customer service-driven initiative to ensure that more American businesses can fully capitalize on markets that are opening up around the world.  NEI/NEXT will build on Administration-wide achievements under the National Export Initiative (NEI) through five core objectives, to help all businesses reach the 95 percent of consumers who live outside the United States.  Here are the objectives:
1.  Connecting more U.S. businesses to their NEXT global customer with tailored industry-specific information and assistance.

2.  Making the NEXT international shipment easier and less expensive, through efforts to streamline U.S. government export-related services, reporting requirements and processes, and speeding American goods to more markets through domestic infrastructure improvements.

3.  Expanding access to finance for U.S. businesses’ NEXT export transaction, helping more exporters obtain financing to meet international demand, and ensuring more companies know what products and services are available to reduce risk and export to new markets with confidence.

4.  Promoting exports and foreign direct investment attraction as the NEXT economic development priority in communities and regions across the country by enhancing partnerships with local and state leaders and by coordinating with SelectUSA, the U.S. government-wide program housed within the Department of Commerce to facilitate foreign direct investment.

5.  Creating, fostering and ensuring U.S. business’ NEXT global opportunity by helping developed and developing economies improve their business environments, by opening new markets, and by establishing conditions and addressing barriers to allow more American exporters to compete and win abroad.
Read more:  U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Announces Next Phase of the National Export Initiative

For more on NEI/Next, including state by state success stories, visit:

Full report, "National Export Initiative, Next, Strategic Framework," visit:

Related posts here.  Need help exporting?  Get started here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tune In: It's National Small Business Week 5/12-5/16

With the United States having more than 28 million small businesses, it's easy to understand how and why we honor these hard-working individuals who create jobs, spur economic growth and develop innovative measures to improve our world.  That said, there will be lots of excitement, conversations and celebrations around this important week - from SBA to the White House to well ... all the companies who salute the crucial role that small businesses play in our lives.  The national celebrations will be held in four major venues: San Francisco, May 12; Kansas City, May 13; Boston, May 15; and Washington, D.C., May 15-16.

Check out some of the activities and conversations below.

•  The White House Blog

•  Statement by the President of the United States on National Small Business Week:


•  National Small Business Week site:

•  National Small Business Week 2014 - A Celebration of the Accomplishments of Small Business - U.S. Chamber of Commerce

•  Small Business Week - National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)

•  Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council)

Let's continue to support and celebrate small businesses every day!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Students Apply Classroom Work in the Real World of International Business

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock
Commercial and construction lighting company Jameson, which is based in Clover, South Carolina, wanted to determine whether its newest durable lighting line, Cero light, could find business in other countries and to find the best market to release the product.  Enter international business students from University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business who took on the challenge so that they could apply classroom work in the real world.
The students learned that Jameson’s Cero light could be applied to various industries, mining in particular. The final report detailed several findings, including the high costs and slow growth of the domestic mining industry that was below average in relation to the rest of the world.
The report analyzed everything from active international markets for Cero light to bureaucratic obstacles, trade barriers, risk, market saturation, currency rates, infrastructure needs, potential economic growth, duties, shipping, insurance, compliance costs and many other necessary elements involved in international trade.

Read more:  USC business students learn about global competitiveness with small-business project initiative

Monday, May 12, 2014

Global Market Research, Information and Business Analysis

TNS is a world leader in market research, global market information and business analysis. TNS provides market research insight across all industries and advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and stakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions.
With a presence in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world’s consumers than anyone else and understands individual human behaviours and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world. TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups. 
For more information on TNS Global, visit:

Other global business intelligence tools.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Scrumptious Stan's Donuts in Chicago

Last weekend I paid a visit to Stan's Donuts, Chicago's new breakfast or anytime hotspot.  Let's just say this:  Best darn donuts ever.  I had a Boston Cream and it was to die for. I ate a quarter of it each day (it's that big) for four days in row.  Heaven.

Find out how a famous LA doughnut shop landed in Chicago here. Address for Stan's Donuts is:  1560 N. Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60622, United States.

Photo credits:  ©2014 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Fumigation in International Trade

Fumigation is a method of killing pests, termites or any other harmful living organisms to prevent the transfer of the infestations and to check for the spread of unwanted pests from one country to another.  Think of it as a serious disinfectant process.  In the article below, I discuss why it is necessary, where it is done and how to fumigate, if needed, on the exporting front.

Why Fumigate in Today's Export Market?

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Let's Celebrate: May Is World Trade Month!

As the International Trade Administration (ITA) says through its International Trade Update, published monthly by the Office of Public Affairs of the U.S. Department of Commerce:
For years, May has been the time to not only recognize the benefits of international trade, but also for organizations around the country to support more American companies competing overseas.

For the United States, the benefits of trade have been great, as have our successes. We recently announced that for the fourth straight year, the United States set a record for annual exports in 2013, at $2.3 trillion. That is a 40 percent growth in total exports since 2009.
We salute all entrepreneurs and small businesses who have mastered the art and science of taking their business global!  Go celebrate your successes!  Be proud of your accomplishments!

Read the entire ITA newsletter here.

Related article:  World Trade Month the World Over

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

What Is the Future of Online Shopping?

Top Photo Group/Thinkstock
UK-based Retail Gazette interviews James Roper, Chairman and Founder of IMRG.  Here's what he has to say about cross-border options available to retailers.  One of the questions he addresses is: What is the future of online shopping?

Read the entire interview:  Cross-border trade Q&A, James Roper, Chairman and Founder of IMRG

Some resources mentioned in the article that are worth a look:

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Whaddya Know: Even Small Companies Are Going Global

Well whaddya know:
Even small companies are going global today, making education about supply-chain disruptions more important than ever.
Is it really foreign territory for small businesses to talk about global supply chain management risk?

Find out:  As More Companies Go Global, Supply Chain Risks and Solutions Grow

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Where to Be Happiest

©2013 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest.  The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits.  People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.” - Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Friday, May 02, 2014

How to Enact Change Globally

Wendy Kopp (@wendykopp), after founding and building Teach For America for more than two decades, is leading the development of Teach For All (@TeachforAll) to increase and accelerate the impact of the Teach for America model worldwide.  She pens a mighty piece for the Stanford Social Innovation Review on the theory of change and how to go about it.
I started grappling with the question of how to enact change globally when I began meeting social entrepreneurs who were determined to adapt the Teach For America model to their home countries. The first such adaptation was Teach First, launched in the United Kingdom in 2003 and modeled after Teach For America. Participants teach in primary and secondary schools in low-income communities across England and Wales for a minimum of two years and become lifelong leaders for change working from inside and outside of education.  Four years after launching Teach First, in response to requests for support from social entrepreneurs in countries around the world, CEO Brett Wigdortz and I decided to launch Teach For All.
Read more:  Empowering Movements for Global Education Reform

And while you are at it, pay a visit to the Highlights from the Global System Change Conference (April 2014)

Thursday, May 01, 2014

What You Need to Know Before Getting Started in International Trade

All photos:  iStock/Thinkstock
PART I:  Aspiring importers and exporters who are clueless about international trade are a dime a dozen. Just looking at my email inbox, I know firsthand. But thoughtful, well-prepared importers and exporters are hard to come by. They are the ones who research thoroughly before they undertake their first business transaction. How do you go from clueless to ready for importing and exporting? What do you really need to know? Here are a few pointers to help master the global game.  Read Part I of a III-part series.

PART II:  I hope I am not dreaming. I heard you have a great product ready to import or export, now all you need to do is get it in the hands of a few good customers and you are off to international trade nirvana. Wait, not so fast. How do you know the product will sell? Will you make money selling it? How should you price the product? All importers and exporters must face these questions at some point if they want to achieve success in the global marketplace. Here are a few solutions to guide you in the process.  Read Part II of a III-part series.

PART III:  When starting an import/export business, it’s not so much about having the best product or service offering on the planet as it is about being prepared to go where you have never gone before. Doing your homework is essential to achieving global success. Here I cover part of the homework—sounding out the market before you tap into it, mastering the regulatory environment and locating a few good customers or suppliers well before you open your door to the world for business.  Read Part III of a III-part series.