Friday, November 28, 2008

Global This, Global That

It ends up to be close to the book Globality. Poke around here a bit. I'm sure you'll find something that interests you or at the very least, maybe you'll start ignoring national boundaries with your business and become the black swan in the photo -- standing out from the crowds -- but on a worldwide basis.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Go Global On Thanksgiving

In case you ran out of food ideas for tomorrow's big day, here are a couple of grand global recipes under the very appropriate title of "Going Global On Thanksgiving."

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving filled with more abundance than you can handle. And thank you for your readership. It inspires me to keep pushing forward and continue to offer you the best we can on global small business.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ways To Dodge An Economic Crisis

Here are 16 Ways to Dodge an Economic Crisis that we posted over at the OPEN Forum by American Express. My favorite is No. 16. And if you find the article useful, please say so with a click on the Yes button for that's the only way I know if you like my work -- many thanks!

To Go Global, Or Not To Go Global?

That is the question and reluctantly I answer with, "You should not go global when you do a lousy job selling a product or service locally."

The truth hurts but the folks at Harvard Business Review have just come out (December 2008) with a far more eloquent way of guiding us on When You Shouldn't Go Global. Unfortunately, to learn more, you will have to either buy the article online for U.S. $6.50 or go to your local bookstore to pick up a copy.

Here's one interesting point made in the abstract:
Global efforts can be rendered counterproductive through unanticipated collateral damage.
Bottom line: You don't want to move full speed ahead toward failure. The article could very well help you avoid missteps. Check it out.

Monday, November 24, 2008

From Rags to Riches: Slumdog Millionaire

Went to see what I consider a global masterpiece film last night: Slumdog Millionaire. It's set in Mumbai and is a cross between a timeless love story and the Mumbai version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"

You have to see it to believe it. Worth exploring.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Branson Busts Borders

Haven't read this yet but love the title: Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur by Richard Branson. With 40 years of business experience, there has to be a lot to learn from Richard about being a global entrepreneur.

[Added 1/2/09 ... publicist sent us a link to preview Richard's book on a complimentary basis ... read it here.]

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Are You Happy About the Dollar's Rebound?

The weak dollar has been good for exports but now we have to go through a rebound. Are you lowering your expectations due to currency movements?

Let us know. In the meantime, catch CFO Magazine's, "The Dollar May Be Up, But Are you?"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Do Small Business, Globally

Ever wonder how can today’s harried entrepreneurs put up the kind of front that says, “We’re organized, we’re professional and we compete on a global level?” Me too.

Apparently virtual home office phone service provider toktumi has the answer and they are poised to change the way we do small business, globally.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Big Emerging Markets Matter

While en route to the World Entrepreneurship Forum in Evian, France, I read about eight different newspapers on the plane. One, the Financial Times, published a great article on Disney on how the studio is finding success in specifically targeting new markets.

One statement caught my eye:
The film’s success (referring to Roadside Romeo -- first animated movie aimed specifically at the Indian market) confirmed what Disney and its rivals in Hollywood have long suspected: Hollywood’s best prospects for growth are in emerging theatrical markets such as India, China and Russia.
And another point that relates to our blog:
“We’ve been very successful with our big global productions, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure,” says Mr Reed. “But we think there’s a natural way to supplement these films in areas like China, Russia and India – areas that have built-in film traditions.”
Key takeaway: Tailor your message to the market.

Read the entire article, "Disney Indian Adventure Rewarded," here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Unleash Your Global Entrepreneurial Spirit

More than 75 countries around the world are launching the first ever Global Entrepreneurship Week (, November 17-23, 2008.

The brainchild of the Kauffman Foundation, Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is an international initiative designed to inspire, inform, mentor, connect and engage entrepreneurs and to encourage them to "unleash" their ideas and solutions on a global, connected marketplace.

Find out more here, join in on the discussions, and spread the good global word.

U.S. Ranks High in Entrepreneurial Activity

As I highlighted in my last post, global entrepreneurial activity is quite alive and more vibrant than ever worldwide. This is especially true of U.S. minority businesses and their families (Korean Americans, Mexican Americans, African Americans, and a White American control group) offering these businesses a particular advantage and a means to not just survive but thrive.

Read more about this and other findings (for example, t
he percentage of early-stage entrepreneurial activity based on necessity has increased from 12.1% in 2005 to 15.6% in 2007. This increase may be due, in part, to the economic slowdown in the U.S.) from the “Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2006-2007 National Entrepreneurial Assessment for the United States of America,” conducted by Babson College and Baruch College -- here or direct to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) -- here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Future Depends on Global Entrepreneurial Magic

After participating in The World Entrepreneurship Forum from November 13-15th in Evian, France, founded by EMLYON Business School (EMLYON Business School English), the leading European business school in Entrepreneurship, and KPMG FR (KPMG USA arm), the leading tax, audit and advisory services company, and global leader in entrepreneurship education Babson College (Boston, USA) who just joined the two founding partners in the organization of the event -- I have come to realize and totally be in awe that global entrepreneurship is very much alive and more at work than ever. Further, we have far more similarities than differences in our passion for building businesses regardless of whether one lives in U.S.A, Indonesia or The Republic of Cameroon (bordered by Nigeria).

Passion -- not necessarily profit (for example, if you love what you do, the money (profits) will follow at some point ... nearly everyone felt that way ... but you cannot sustain the growth of your business, especially during rough patches, without passion first) -- is the key to successful global entrepreneurial development and it ran deep (soulfully might be a better choice of words) within each of the 80 selected personalities representing 35 nationalities and segmented into four distinct profiles who each have an entrepreneurial role in society: entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, politicians, and experts. I was placed in the Entrepreneur category under The Free Market Economy (one of three ethos*). The picture above shows all members and was taken on the grounds of the Evian Royal Resort overlooking Lake Geneva and facing the Alps.

Here's a look at the agenda we covered for the two and one-half days but before I share that, here's the definition of entrepreneur according to the World Entrepreneurship Forum:

"The entrepreneur, creator of wealth and social justice."

Does that sound like you? If so, let us hear from you! And two questions that arose from that statement:

1. What is the best way of creating wealth?
2. What is the best way of creating social justice?

And here's a glimpse at the founder's vision:
"The future depends on entrepreneurs. They play a pivotal role when confronting the business and societal challenges we face today and in the future. Creators of value, promotors of values, they will actively contribute to the advancement of global social justice." ~ EMLYON Business School - KPMG, Founders of the World Entrepreneurship Forum
Now, to the agenda.

Day One

• The Entrepreneur, a key actor in the face of our world challenges.
• The many faces of the entrepreneur: introduction to the three ethos* (coordinated market economy, free market economy and the network-based economy) influencing entrepreneurs' behaviors.
• Topics, methodology and expected outcomes of the Forum.
• Key success factors for entrepreneurs across the three ethos (in other words, the character or ideals of a community of people).

Day Two


• Breakfasts segmented by Profiles (Entrepreneurs, Social Entrepreneurs, Experts and Politicians): Sharing and exchanging challenges and issues each profile faces in their respective business environment.

Early afternoon

The overall encompassing purpose was to formulate recommendations, develop content and format of future entrepreneurship education programs and issue proposals to have entrepreneurs behave fairly toward society

• Creating entrepreneurship-friendly business environments.
• Educating the next generation of entrepreneurs.
• Advancing the social commitment of entrepreneurs.

Late afternoon

• Facilitated discussion on the above three bullets.

Late evening

• Gathering to articulate the vision, mission and goals of the World Entrepreneurship Forum; liberation of the first conclusions drawn from the World Entrepreneurship Forum; and, announcement of the "Entrepreneur for the World" award (will tell you who won later).

Day Three (1/2 day)
• Feedback from the workshops and discussed conclusions from the previous two days of learning and sharing. Then we brainstormed about the Forum's impact and future (which included collectively formulating twelve recommendations to promote entrepreneurship worldwide) and went on to vote for "Entrepreneur for the World" 2009 award.

*More detail about this in a subsequent post.

I will report takeaways and highlight some of the members I met (a few are readers of our blog!) over the coming weeks for my notes are a mile long. Right now, I wanted to merely set the stage for what is yet to come. In between now and then, catch a different perspective on the Forum from two great media moguls Steven Strauss and Rieva Lesonsky who both participated at the conference. And catch Karen Kerrigan's report here.
More global entrepreneurial magic to follow. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

World Entrepreneurship Forum - II

I plan to report on the World Entrepreneurship Forum (see all the coverage already up on it ... pictures ... videos) in a blog post either Sunday or Monday. Still in France and have been overwhelmed by the amount of collective genius shared by all the participants at the Forum but there has been absolutely no time to blog.

Much to write about but need substantial quality time to produce it. Look forward to providing my perspective on the Forum shortly.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Forum of Young Global Leaders

The Forum of Young Global Leaders ( is a unique, multi-stakeholder community of exceptional young leaders who share a commitment to shaping the global future. Each year the World Economic Forum identifies 200-250 extraordinary individuals, drawn from every region of the world. Together, they form a powerful international community which can dramatically impact the global future.

Check out their website and watch the video to get an impression of the uniqueness of the community.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

International Trade Symposium

SBA will hold an International Trade Symposium in Nation's Capital on Tuesday, November 18. Part of what will take place:
Experts will educate small businesses on the resources available to help them export their goods and services. The symposium will begin with a panel of successful small business exporters who will share their stories and expertise on tapping into the global market. Valuable networking and counseling opportunities for small businesses interested in expanding their businesses through international trade also will be available.

Reducing barriers to trade is a significant way to help small businesses through the current economic downturn. With exports now accounting for a larger percentage of U.S. GDP than at any other time in history, expanding free trade is crucial for America's long-term economic health. Small businesses are playing an increasingly larger role in the U.S. export sector. The number of small and medium-sized exporters grew more than twice as fast as the number of large company exporters, between 1992 and 2003. This international trade symposium will enable small businesses to better understand how to take advantage of free trade and continue export growth.
Read more here.

World Entrepreneurship Forum

Preparing to attend the World Entrepreneurship Forum in Evian France from November 13-15. Read more about it here.

Blogging will be sporadic but I will do my best to report out. Eager to learn and share the different views of the world on global entrepreneurship and how it has become an economic and social force.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Exports Rock

The global economy may look dim but exports still rock for many entrepreneurs and small businesses. Read more here.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Call to Global Entrepreneurship

Unleashing global entrepreneurship could be the ticket to economic success my friends.
"All of us are hoping for something better, something different, a legacy we can leave to the next generation," said Tanny Berg, an Obama supporter who owns Jack Berg sales, an international distributor of electronics, and Epicenter El Paso, a shopping center and office development company.

"The status quo hasn't worked. We're in a deep recession and not particularly well-respected around the world, and our military might is being challenged in Iraq. I think Barack is the promise of maybe a different approach, at least tryable," Berg said. "It seems to me that more attention will be paid to small business - annual sales below $5 million - than under a Bush administration, where the emphasis seemed to be on larger businesses."
In this article, NAFTA and taxes are among the concerns of entrepreneurs. What are your thoughts?

Friday, November 07, 2008

Chinese Company Goes Global

We covered Lenovo's Worldsourcing blog during an Olympic-led marketing blitz and now the Lenovo Group Ltd., who used to be a little-known computer maker that sold only in China (they acquired IBM's PC business and that's what catapulted them onto a world stage), seems to be getting a little more traction these days with their global push but not without strife.

Cultural clashes (which we wrote about in general on how important it is to be positive towards cultures outside of your own) and power struggles seemed to really trip up their progress.

Read more about Lenovo's story here. Had a tough time finding the original WSJ article online.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Use Social Media To Grow Global

We've been saying this all along ... Wiggly Wigglers, a rural England-based natural gardening company, was awarded (U.S. $50,000!) by Dell and its global partners for its innovation and leadership in social media. Using tools like Facebook, podcasting and blogging, Wiggly Wigglers:
  • Serves 90,000 customers worldwide and delivers its products across Europe;
  • Cut its advertising budget by 80 percent when the company turned to social media over traditional advertising;
  • Facebook fans currently stand at 898, with over 170 discussion topics;
  • Hosts podcasts from the “Wiggly sofa” reaching thousands of listeners per week, and
  • Built its catalogue based on Wiki ideas generated on its Facebook page by experts and customers.
Read more about the Dell/NFIB Small Business Excellence in Customer Experience Award here.

What a wonderful example of how to use social media to grow your business globally. Congratulations to Wiggly Wigglers and all the other award recipients!

Build Global Bench Strength

Envision your success in 5 to 10 years and make sure whatever you are doing now that it's sustainable. CEO of Ingersoll Rand, Herb Henkel, shares some good tips on driving his firm through global territory.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


In case you are not a subscriber to our world famous Borderbuster e-newsletter (, we want to share point No. 7 of today's edition because a reader recently commented that she would like to see more ideas on strategy for taking a business global on this blog.

We will continue to meet or exceed your needs here. Thank you for your readership and for your great contributions! Keep them coming!

*Subscriber Exclusive*

Q: To Ask The Expert,

I am the V.P. of International Sales for an office supply manufacturer. Our products are not unique. Therefore, I have found it extremely difficult to export our products although I have done so in the past but on the basis of quoting a very low price with hardly any profit. I then attempt to make up for the per unit profit shortfall with volume orders.

I have always felt that if we price our products at “marginal costs” rather than at full cost, we would have a much better chance at continuing to increase our exports. Are you aware of studies on this issue? How can I intelligently address this point with the CEO of the company? I have approached him on this subject but I do feel if I had information to support my theory, I would have a better chance at changing his mind.

A: From Laurel,

Thank you for your question.

When you refer to “marginal costs,” I am assuming you mean “profit margin.” Also, it looks as if you believe that offering plastic alternatives overseas at a slightly lower price than your domestic selling price (full price) is the key to greater export success. For the record, exporters typically take a 10% to 15% markup over their manufacturing cost.

One of the first measures companies practice in order to remain competitive in the global marketplace is severe price-cutting tactics and oftentimes at the risk of operating at a loss. If you offer a price-reduction strategy merely as a knee-jerk reaction to a rough economic climate, over the long haul, it won’t work. You must develop an export action-plan that supports a process. You are already successful on your export initiatives. Now it is just a case of doing more of the same but with greater discipline and flair.

To build up your exports, start selling in new countries or territories; develop healthier relationships with your distributors and agents; create a more innovative and effective international sales and marketing strategy in general; request your staff takes on more responsibilities; sell more on open account with export credit insurance and work more closely with your credit manager.

The next step is to cut expenses. Here are eight ways to go about it:

1. Shift your production to a lower-labor-cost nation.

2. Cut production costs. Eliminate unnecessary employees and hire temps or contract out when you need to fill in.

3. Build your sales force according to the needs and demands of your overseas customers. For example, if your customers demand extra service, make sure they get it.

4. Reduce the U.S. content of your product to remain competitive overseas.

5. Use the best possible payment method. The one that works best is the one that gets the deal done.

6. Engineer financing from a variety of sources, including U.S. Export-Import Bank (

7. Work more closely with your transportation expert (consider going direct).

8. Use the Internet to increase efficiency.

If you put all of the above into play, you will be able to offer more favorable export pricing to your customers, increase your international sales and make your boss happy.

Good luck and let us know what happens.

=> Don't miss another edition of Borderbuster. Sign up here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

44th President of the United States: Barack Obama

World ... please join me in welcoming and congratulating our 44th President of the United States: Barack Obama.

10 Ways To Take Your Business Global

Our friend and colleague Dan Harris, who writes an informative blog (definitely check out) about law in China at the China Law Blog, posted about our recent radio podcast at the Small Business Trends Radio (hosted by Anita Campbell and Executive Producer Steve Rucinski), 10 Ways to Take Your Business Global.

A special thanks to all the folks at the Small Business Trends Radio and to Dan for his kind sentiments about our podcast on his blog.

Direct link to show post.
Direct link to audio file.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Amway is a health and beauty leader, operating in 78 countries and territories around the world and generating U.S. $6.8 billion in annual sales. What does this have to do with global small business? The company was started by two friends in Ada, Michigan.

It goes to show you that hard work can grow a business global. Read more -- and watch the compelling video -- on the fresh new push into GLOBAL for Amway here. And more about the ad campaign here ... even if it is a little late.