Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Spirit of Halloween

"I love the spirit of Halloween and the energy that comes with it." -- Katharine McPhee

Photos courtesy:  ©2015 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.

Friday, October 30, 2015

How to Be in Charge of Your Own Global Destiny

Shoptiques founder Olga Vidisheva talks about what drives her, why hang around people smarter than you, and how she's managed a fast-growing e-commerce business that has grown double digits every month in 2015.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Negotiating Across Borders

Few subjects are as critical or as complex as negotiating across borders, especially in today’s interconnected global environment, business people who understand cultural differences and how to communicate effectively have a decided competitive edge. But do you know the basics on how to negotiate effectively whether you find yourself in Mexico, France or Portugal? In the following article, I discuss five fundamental steps to negotiating successfully on a global basis.

5 Fundamental Steps to Negotiating Successfully Globally

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Global Small Business Forum 2015 Was a HUGE Success!

Thank you to sponsors Chicago Expert Importers (CEI), Endicia and TradeUp Fund for their generous sponsorship to the first Global Small Business Forum held in Chicago at Navy Pier on Friday, October 23, 2015 with the theme "Up Your Global Game." We also thank ATA Carnet | Boomerang Carnets for their Executive Sponsorship.  We had a terrific turnout with very engaged participants who asked a lot of great questions.  The speakers/panelists/moderators were was follows:
  • Richard Paullin, Executive Director, International Trade Association of Greater Chicago; Chairman, IL District Export Council
  • Kevin Drost, Director of International Strategy,
  • Marianne O'Brien, Regional Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Rajiv Khatau, Founder and Managing Director, LODAAT LLC
  • Kati Suominen (pictured third photo from top), Founder and CEO, Nextrade Group, LLC — keynote speaker!
  • Marc Schulman (pictured above), President, Eli’s Cheesecake Company — headliner -- read his post!
  • Lisa Bitsky, President, Automated Design Crop.
  • Zach Person (bottom photo-front to the right), Program Manager, IL International Trade Center for Entrepreneurship, College of DuPage
  • Sophia Leaguedi, President, Ameroc Export Inc.
  • Jim Snediker, Co-Founder and CEO, Stock Manufacturing Co.
  • Roy Donoso, President, Sumac
  • Timo Lukkarinen, CEO, Horizon Educational
  • Sergei Kozyrenko, Co-Founding CTO, Parknav
  • Rob Wray, CEO, mp3Car
  • Morgan Coghill, International Sales Manager, Simmons Knife and Saw
  • Doris Nagel, President, Blue Sky Consulting Services
Here's what attendees said about the conference:
  • Terrific conference!  Congratulations – certainly the 1st Annual – it must be repeated.
  • You did a great job with the Global Small Business Forum.
  • Thank you again for a wonderful event.   I am sorry to have had to leave prior to the end but what I was there for was really well done and such good interaction.
  • Without your vision and guidance it wouldn't have been possible.  From what I saw, the event seemed rich with valuable information.
  • It was a real honor to be invited.  I know it takes a tremendous amount of effort, and you put on a successful event.  
  • I really enjoyed the discussion. Hope we [as a panelist] get to do it again soon.
  • You have surrounded yourself with such amazing people.
We are also grateful to our Major Partners and all the vendor companies that purchased tables and further supported our event.  Special hat tip to Small Business Trends for their "19 Tips for Taking Your Small Business Global."  Laura Fairman at Blue Canvas did an amazing job on the website, program and posters.  Thank you to everyone who made this event a tremendous success.  We look forward to next year's forum with the anticipated date of:  Friday, October 21, 2016.  More soon!

Photos courtesy:  GSBB Media LLC.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Success Starts with Having Faith

©iStock/Rawpixel Ltd.
According to breast cancer survivor and CEO of fast growing business Global Commerce, "What I’ve [Joaneane Smith] learned is that whether you’re battling cancer or building a business, much of the same elements are required. And to me, it all starts with having faith.”

Ms. Smith founded Global Commerce in 2000 and provides system and software engineering, cyber security and project management to government clients, including the U.S. departments of agriculture and defense. Global Commerce has 31 employees.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Today in Global Small Business: The Importance of Exim Bank to the Competitiveness of American Exports

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

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Greater Danger For Most of Us

©2015 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark." -- Michelangelo

Friday, October 23, 2015

19 Benefits to Selling in International Markets

©2015 GSBB Media LLC.  All rights reserved.
With the Global Small Business Forum taking place today (10/23) in Chicago at the historic Navy Pier, it only seems fitting that Small Business Trends, one of our Major Partners on the event, would write a fantastic feature on "19 Tips to Take Your Small Business Global" by Annie Pilon.  We love that our headliner on the event, Marc Schulman, President of Eli's Cheesecake is quoted.

Are you looking to expand your business internationally?  These tips should help you get there faster.  A BIG thank you to Small Business Trends for supporting small businesses, including ours, that wish to take on the world with their businesses.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How Do You Manage Cash Flow in Multiple Currencies?

What's the toughest part of managing cash flow in multiple currencies?  The fact that small businesses may not know exactly what they are paying or being paid at any given moment.
For a small to medium enterprise [SME] that conducts part of its business overseas, currency stability is something that can never be taken for granted. A volatile exchange rate is the hidden profit killer – the past few months alone have demonstrated this with the Euro moving against the pound by as much as 17% at times - yet SMEs do not always have the in-house expertise needed to protect profits against such fluctuations.
What do you do?

Read more:  Managing cash-flow in different currencies

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Is There a Lack of Confidence in the Global Market?

In the UK, nearly a third of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) delayed their investment plans in the third quarter as a result of uncertainty in the EU.
“Ongoing macro-economic issues, such as a potential 'Grexit' [referred to as Greek exit] and a lack of confidence in the global economy, as well as national challenges, such as less friendly dividend tax rules introduced in George Osborne’s Summer Budget, appear to have contributed to a drop in the Smith & Williamson Enterprise Index to 114.4, five points lower than its record high of 119.4 three months ago,” said Guy Rigby, head of entrepreneurial services at Smith & Williamson.
One other finding:
“87% of SME owners [in the UK] thought the government should provide more support to help businesses export,” said Stephen Drew, head of international services at Smith & Williamson.
Read more:  Third of small businesses delay investment plans over EU uncertainty

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How Do You Conquer the World with Your Shiny New Product?

How do you conquer the world with your shiny new product?  Let me count the ways.  First, try some blue-sky thinking.  Next, get out your compass and develop a roadmap on where you want to go.  Lastly, ask yourself this:  Who is ______________________________ (fill in the blank with your company name); What do we stand for ______________________________________?  Does your brand stand for what your customers want to feel?
The painful truth is that it’s a big bad world of big-name brands out there. So if you’re a start-up entrepreneur with big dreams and an even bigger desire to conquer the world with your shiny, new product but without the marketing budget of the bigger international brands you need to be clear at what your brand is, what differentiates you, and what why consumers should go to you instead of the competitors. Armed with a strong brand, you’re on your way to winning big in the global marketplace.
Read more:  How small businesses can win big with branding

Monday, October 19, 2015

Today in Global Small Business: Why Unilever's Online Sales Are Zooming

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

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Delicious Autumn

"Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." -- George Eliot

Photos courtesy:  @2015 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Major Marker of Success: Going Global

Are you in need for real-time translation?  Microsoft claims Cortana is the ultimate international business partner and is available on all Windows 10-enabled devices and laptops.  But let's back up a bit.  For many small business owners, going global is one of the major markers of success — proving their business model is bullet-proof enough to be effective on a larger, more diverse audience scale. But taking a company overseas can also come with challenges that can quickly knock the wind out of a business owner's sail

What does Cortana do?
Cortana retrieves and processes information. So instead of wasting time searching the Internet for the currency of Brazil or shipping regulations in Russia, users can simply ask Cortana a question and she'll [not sure how Cortana is a female] comb the Internet to find the best answer. Cortana can also make web browsing easier: Now featured within the Edge browser, Cortana can quickly make sense of any unfamiliar words or concepts with a simple click.
Think of Cortana as a new personal assistant.  You'll have to test it out yourself to see how global "she" is.  Meanwhile, have a look at "Businesses Try to Fix Machine Translation."  And we still love Eriksen Translations for real people doing real translations (small plug).

Note:  The above on Cortana is an advertorial on Mashable.

Learn more:  How Cortana solves the issue of 'lost in translation' for small business owners

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Only 9 Days Left to Register for the Chicago-based Global Small Business Forum 2015

©2015 GSBB Media LLC.  All rights reserved.
Anyone who wants to cross borders with a product or service must attend this event at Chicago's historic Navy Pier on Friday, October 23rd.  Here’s a snapshot of who plans to participate as moderators, panelists and speakers (
  1. Richard Paullin, Executive Director, International Trade Association of Greater Chicago; Chairman, IL District Export Council
  2. Kevin Drost, Director of International Strategy,
  3. Bo Steiner, District Director, U.S. Small Business Administration, Illinois District
  4. Rajiv Khatau, Founder and Managing Director, LODAAT LLC
  5. Kati Suominen, Founder and CEO, Nextrade Group, LLC — keynote speaker!
  6. Marc Schulman, President, Eli’s Cheesecake Company — headliner! -- love this post!
  7. Lisa Bitsky, President, Automated Design Crop.
  8. Zach Person, Program Manager, IL International Trade Center for Entrepreneurship, College of DuPage
  9. Sophia Leaguedi, President, Ameroc Export Inc.
  10. Jim Snediker, Co-Founder and CEO, Stock Manufacturing Co.
  11. Roy Donoso, President, Sumac
  12. Timo Lukkarinen, CEO, Horizon Educational
  13. Sergei Kozyrenko, Co-Founding CTO, Parknav
  14. Rob Wray, CEO, mp3Car
  15. Morgan Coghill, International Sales Manager, Simmons Knife and Saw
  16. Doris Nagel, President, Blue Sky Consulting Services
You won’t want to miss this!  More than 16 experts/practitioners talking about what it takes to grow a business globally.  The program can be found here:  To learn more and to register, visit:

We thank our generous and supportive sponsors and major partners:

I'll be there.  Will you?  (Hashtag:  #UpYourGlobalGame)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Increasing Awareness on the Importance of Entrepreneurship in Tajikistan

A Youth Entrepreneurship Forum involving around 200 young people recently took place in Dushanbe, the capital and largest city of Tajikistan, with support from the World Bank Group, as part of the Government of Tajikistan’s National Entrepreneurship Week. The purpose of the event was to increase awareness on the importance of entrepreneurship for job creation and economic growth and exchanging ideas around entrepreneurship for youth in Tajikistan.
At the forum, international and local experts introduced key concepts of entrepreneurship such as how to set up and manage a business, how to make entrepreneurial decisions and identify new business opportunities. 
The World Bank’s ongoing portfolio in Tajikistan includes 24 projects (including regional projects and Trust Funds) with a net commitment of US$ 383 million that aim to support economic growth through private sector development, while investing in better public services for people, such as education, health, municipal services and social protection.

Read more:  World Bank Group Supports Youth Entrepreneurship Forum in Dushanbe

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Argument for Open Borders

Remember the song "Born Free?"  It's lively and moving (as featured) and pretty much in line with the discussions about the case of getting rid of borders.

According to The Atlantic:
To paraphrase Rousseau, man is born free, yet everywhere he is caged. Barbed-wire, concrete walls, and gun-toting guards confine people to the nation-state of their birth. But why? The argument for open borders is both economic and moral. All people should be free to move about the earth, uncaged by the arbitrary lines known as borders.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Today in Global Small Business: U.S. Export-Import Bank Will be Reauthorized (Prediction)

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

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Friday, October 09, 2015

What It Takes to be a Successful Small Business Owner in the Global Digital Age

©iStock/John North
Key:  Don't accept the status-quo!

Robert Herjavec, entrepreneur and host of ABC’s Shark Tank, talks about the newly released documentary film Small Business Revolution (#SmallBusinessRevolution) and what it takes to be a successful small business owner in the global digital age. The documentary profiles 100 small businesses around the country and covers the essence of what makes these individuals successful.

Read more:  Shark Tank Star on Small Business Success

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Fighting For Revenue in a Sluggish Global Economy

In 2015, many companies in the U.S. and abroad are fighting for revenue in a sluggish global economy and Ex-Im Bank's closing doesn't help matters.  A strong dollar and weaker growth hamper export efforts.  For example, U.S. exports of goods and services were down 3.5% from a year earlier in the first seven months of 2015.  Exports fell 3.2% in August, according to the Commerce Department.
Many foreign companies say they can't secure financing from commercial banks without some kind of government-backed financing or guarantee, which most developed countries offer through their own Ex-Im banks.
And yet there are alternative financing methods out there ...

Read more:  Ex-Im Bank's Closing Creates Gulf

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Africa: A Continent of Possibilities

Which continent has some of the highest rates of female entrepreneurship?  Sweden, United States or Australia?  Try Africa.  Afua Osei, founder of She Leads Africa, is working to fix the perception that Africa only churns out owners of small farms or roadside stands.  She's on a mission (so is WEGG) to prove that women with drive and talent can launch a global start-up —just like she has.
Osei, a consultant for McKinsey, became interested in supporting African businesswomen after spending a summer working at a mobile technology company in Lagos, Nigeria. There she learned that her female coworkers had far less access to professional development opportunities than Osei had at Booth [The University of Chicago Booth School of Business].
Read more:  A continent of possibility | The University of Chicago Magazine

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

SMEs Declare the Importance of Global Trade

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, between the United States, Japan and 10 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, stands to reduce many of the barriers that smaller businesses struggle with in particular, have reached a final agreement on the largest regional trade accord in history, bubbling up what could be a tough fight for U.S. President Obama because he has to secure approval from Congress.  Further, the deal still has to be ratified by lawmakers in each country.   The TPP would affect 40 percent of the world economy.

Many business leaders -- big and small -- have said that increasing access to international markets would enable them to hire more workers to keep up with new demand.

Need more background on TPP?  Visit Trans-Pacific Partnership - At a Glance and The Trans-Pacific Partnership --

Read more:  Business Leaders Applaud Trans-Pacific Partnership

Monday, October 05, 2015

Today in Global Small Business: Apple Watch Goes On Sale at Target

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

Saturday, October 03, 2015

All Things Beautiful Are Worth Chasing

©2015 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
©2015 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
“Today was about chasing sun-rays, beach waves, & sunsets. All things beautiful that give you peace are worth chasing.  Everything else isn't.” -- April Mae Monterrosa

Friday, October 02, 2015

Rwandan-born Jean Bosco Nzeyimana Wins International Award

Jean Bosco Nzeyimana's idea to compost household trash into cleaner cooking fuel for poor families have won him several international innovation awards.  He is the founder and CEO of Habona Limited, a Rwandan start-up trying to address the lack of electricity in his rural village of Kitabi.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Global Peer-to-Peer Bitcoin Lending Platform

Bitbond is a global peer-to-peer bitcoin lending platform. Small businesses similar to eBay sellers who need to finance working capital and inventory list their loan request on Bitbond after going through a credit check. The loans get funded by individual and institutional lenders who thereby earn interest with their bit coins.
Bitcoin lending platform Bitbond today [9/30] announced the launch of its new global affiliate program. The affiliate program is designed to open up the services Bitbond provides, and allow the vibrant Bitbond community to share in the revenue of the company. By providing a financial incentive, affiliates promoting Bitbond will now be able to profit financially for every active user they refer.
Learn more:  Bitbond Launches Global Bitcoin Affiliate Program