Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SMB World Will Move Up

Interesting post by Mike Speiser on "Self-Service Nation: Why Targeting Small Business Is Good Business."

I'll jump to one (of 27 at this writing) of the reader's comments which I think says it all:

Focusing on supporting and recommending small businesses will create a much better world to live in and spread the wealth far more equitably.
Read more here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Exporting Big Box Concepts to India

Is Wal-Mart's deep retail discounting formula doable in India? Only time will tell.
India is part of Wal-Mart's rapid global expansion under Mike Duke, the former head of the company's international division who in February became CEO. In his previous job, he recruited native-born managers in international markets who understood local customs. Mr. Jain, for example, had worked more than 20 years here for Unilever PLC and Whirlpool Corp. Wal-Mart's 3,400 international stores generate close to one quarter of the company's revenue.
The arrival of big-box wholesalers and retailers in India was a major political issue a couple of years ago, with widespread protests from small merchants. But as the Indian economy has slowed, the furor has eased. Shoppers became accustom to larger stores from local retailers such as Pantaloon Retail India Ltd.
Read more here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

How To Hire Free Agents Worldwide

We covered this topic briefly June 18th during our Bank of America "live" online small business community forum, "Cost Effective Strategies To Go Global" (refer to No. 5) but The New York Times expanded on the notion here (6/25/09).

How To Enlist a Global Work Force of Freelancers

Thursday, June 25, 2009

WANTED: America's Most Promising Company

Is your business a diamond in the rough? Exceptional characteristics ... future potential ... but lacks the final touches to make it shine brilliantly throughout the world? Well then here's your chance to be discovered BIG time.

Forbes is assembling a list of America's Most Promising Companies for all investors, vendors and customers to see.

To find these gems, they are offering a comprehensive FREE self-assessment survey that captures the potential of a small business from all angles, as a professional investor would look at it. The idea is that companies that score high theoretically have a better shot at raising money -- and ultimately reaching their potential -- than those that don't.

Benefits to YOU for completing the survey:
  • A few high scorers will have the opportunity to raise additional capital.
  • All those who submit surveys will be given a 12-category qualitative snapshot of how their business stacks up to an ideal business in their industry, and at a similar stage of development.
  • Some participants will have the opportunity to get a makeover from a self-made titan in their industry.
  • Those who make the America's Most Promising Companies list will be given license to use the Forbes America's Most Promising Companies logo on their marketing materials.
  • Taking their survey will challenge entrepreneurs to think more critically about their business and its prospects.
Deadline: Friday, July 17th -- close of business.

Get discovered. Take survey here.

Who Changed Our World?

Currently, we know Guy Kawasaki does a good job with this but who or what else, in your opinion, has changed our world as a result of an amazing invention over the past 100 years? Think back -- from steam engines to the Model T Ford (pictured) -- something must be worthy of your vote. If not, add your own ideas like this reader did:
1. Spicy peanuts
2. That extend-a-thing that helps me change the lightbulb way over our entryway
3. TV remote
4. Moveable type
5. Automatic soap dispenser (tie)
6. Automatic urinal flusher (tie)
7. Automatic paper towel dispenser (tie)
8. Stairs
9. Lye soap
10. Fountain drinks
Original source: On Display, 10 Inventions That Changed the World

Cast your vote directly here (ten objects have been selected to help guide you in the process; they are the ones on display at museum). And take a tour of the museum of the future while you are at it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bing vs. Google on "I Love You"

John Yunker at Global by Design elaborates on the difference between using Bing (owned by Microsoft) versus Google on a simple search string translation of the words: "I love you."

Read more here.

Why not just go straight to: Bing translator?
Or how about Google translator?

Full disclosure: I'm a HUGE Google fan (no affiliation whatsoever). John is a Microsoft program manager and co-founder of Byte Level Research.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Are You Living LOUD?

Do you care what people think about you worldwide? Well if you do, I have a sneaky suspicion that you are not living LOUD.

What does living LOUD mean? Find out here with examples of five people (including Former President George H.W. Bush -- pictured skydiving on his 85th birthday). And a big happy birthday to my Dad who is 86 today!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sleep Like A Baby During Tough Times

Check out a recent contribution over at the new (preview content) Next Gen site of OPEN Forum by American Express OPEN:

How A Business Owner Can Sleep Like a Baby During Tough Times
If you like it, say so with a firm YES! To see more beta content, go here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bailout or a Subsidy?

When is one country's bailout, another's industrial subsidy? BusinessWeek says rising tension could lead to damaging trade wars.

The New Protectionism

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why China Has So Few Good Brands

The answer may or may not be found in this piece but it's a darn good read.

Chinese Brands Are Coming

Note: I actually think Haier is pretty strong:
Haier is the world’s 4th largest whitegoods manufacturer and one of China’s Top 100 IT Companies. Haier has 240 subsidiary companies and 30 design centers, plants and trade companies and more than 50,000 employees throughout the world. Haier specializes in technology research, manufacture industry, trading and financial services. Haier 2006 global revenue was RMB107.5 billion.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How To Fix a Botched Global Network

Let's say you recently started to expand your business globally and it seems to be working. Revenues are up and profits too. But all of a sudden, it feels weird -- chaotic. Like something you cannot put your finger on. Maybe it has to do with cultural issues (translation and time zone differences) or getting the right people on board. Who knows.

Then you wake up in the middle of the night and have an epiphany. You realize the problem ... the chaotic feeling ... is not cultural at all and nothing to do with global expansion. It's a problem you've dealt with before on a local basis.

It's the inability to execute on what needs to get done.

Find out here what went wrong (similar situation) and how things have been made right over at nine-year-old Havas.

Monday, June 15, 2009

LIVE from New York, It's Saturday ...

Please join us LIVE online Thursday, June 18 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. EST at Bank of America's Small Business Community where I will be covering:

Cost Effective Strategies to Go Global

My version of it is: Going global on the cheap (or shoestring). This is my second event with BofA so I am thrilled to be back in the saddle again with all of you!

Some of the questions I hope to address are:
  • How do you leverage social media and networking platforms to grow a business globally?
  • What's the most effective way to hire and maintain (nurture) independent contractors worldwide while building a global empire during a tough economic time?
  • Is Twitter important? Can it help reach a global audience? If so, what should you be doing to tap into it?
  • What are some key elements involved to run a fit-for-fast-growth type of global small business?
  • Where do you turn to find out if an overseas market is ripe for your type of product or service offering?
So whether you are thinking of taking your business global or are already crossing borders, please join us and feel free to start asking your questions NOW to ensure I get to them! Look forward to connecting with you there.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Make Something

If you want to source custom or standard parts locally and globally, you might start here.

Manufacturing quotes for machining, fabrication, molding and textiles from manufacturing and factories.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Push For Global Trade

United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship introduced a bill to help increase small business trade opportunities.
Small businesses play a vital role in America's international commerce, representing about 97 percent of all exporters. Yet, with only one percent of small firms exporting their goods -- making up slightly more than a quarter of the country's exporting volume -- exporting remains dominated by large firms.
U.S. exports of goods and services grew by 12 percent in 2008 to $1.84 trillion, while imports increased 7.4 percent to $2.52 trillion -- further evidence that more small business involvement in exporting would help reduce the country's trade deficit.
The bill calls for more focus on small business issues, helping to raise the profile of small exporters and ensuring that the interests of these exporters are represented during trade negotiations.

Read more here.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Borderless Retirement

Are you trying to determine where to retire? Have you thought about retiring to a place other than the United States? Then this book is exactly what you need or are looking for.

"Retirement Without Borders: How to Retire Abroad -- in Mexico, France, Italy, Spain, Costa Rica, Panama, and Other Sunny, Foreign Places (And the Secret to Making It Happen Without Stress)" is authored by Barry Goldson, with Thia Golson and the Expert Expats (contributor).

Haven't read it yet. Sounds intriguing, doesn't it?

Straight from Booklist:
Golson and his wife, experienced part-time and full-time expatriates, provide a fascinating road map for retirement planning outside the U.S. This book targets the 76 million baby boomers reaching age 65 in 2010 who may be intrigued by the idea of seeking another culture for retirement that offers many possibilities for new interests and friendships. The authors provide in-depth evaluation of 10 countries (plus brief information on others) emphasizing both positive and negative aspects of living there plus commentary by Americans who reside in each country. Finances are a major issue, and there are opportunities for those with modest budgets as well as larger incomes. Missing family and friends in the U.S. is the major downside to living abroad, but the benefits include a sense of adventure, lower cost of living in some instances, climate, and greater freedom. An excellent, valuable resource for library patrons who are seriously considering offshore retirement as well as those who may be dreaming about it. ~ Mary Whaley

Friday, June 05, 2009

Globalization, Not Localization

I argue for globalization, not the simplicity (limitedness) of localization.

What do you think?

Read more here.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

How Globalization Will Work in the Future

Here's what Gordon Brown thinks. He writes a crafty commentary, "Don't Go Wobbly On Trade," for The Wall Street Journal.

Here's what else he says:

We also need to reaffirm our commitment to resist protectionism, especially when rising unemployment increases the pressure and temptation to put up trade barriers. Creating more barriers to global trade is a surefire way to prolong the recession.
See what you think. Agree? Disagree? Weigh in to let us know your thoughts!

Thank you.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

An American Trader in Japan

I updated this piece on what it's like to do business in Japan. It's a bit long (9-page PDF file) but hopefully it's worth the read.

An American Trader in Japan

Monday, June 01, 2009

Robust Trade and Investment Between the U.S.A. and U.A.E.

Growth of robust trade between the United States and powerhouse U.A.E. is reflected here (scan to Trade), "The U.S.-U.A.E. Trade and Investment Relationship: 2009" (PDF), and prepared March 2009 by Professor Michael O. Moore, Director, Institute for International Economic Policy, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University.

The U.A.E. is the largest export market for the United States in the Middle East. ~ U.S. Census Bureau
More information can be found at the US-UAE Business Council.