Thursday, December 31, 2009

Small Businesses Can Become Global Conglomerates

How to take your small business global by way of extreme outsourcing.

Read BusinessWeek's "Mom and Pop Multinationals."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Great Global Divide

The global recession is opening up a big gap in output performance between the chemical industries of the developed and developing worlds, which will continue to widen over the next few years.

Chemical producers in the emerging economies of countries such as China, India and Brazil are using expanding domestic demand to grab a larger share of the global chemicals market.
China is already accounting for 17 per cent of the world's chemical output,' says Thomas. 'The high growth in chemical production will continue in 2010 because of the large number of new chemical plants due to come on stream in the country during the year. Their output will slow down the big inflow of imports into China.'
Read more about this topic here at Chemistry World.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Encyclopedia of Small Business

Always discovering something new and in this case, Encyclopedia of Small Business with a focus on globalization; basic but still interesting nonetheless.
Some people view globalization in positive terms, as a key force in promoting worldwide economic development. But others believe ...
More here.

Monday, December 28, 2009

SMEs Are the Backbone of Many Economies

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of many economies, including Ireland, and international business is an engine that seems to be running out of steam across all continents.

For example, take this excerpt:

‘‘SMEs are the backbone of this economy and it’s time the government sat up and took notice of this," said Curran.

‘‘We need to look at improving the export policy of these businesses, but the cost of competitiveness and a reduction in rates and other charges - such as energy - must be addressed. SMEs have done all they possibly can to cut costs.

‘‘We are still reliant on the international economy, and I would be very worried about the first few months of next year. This has probably been the worst year for SMEs in 20 years."
Read more at "SMEs Hanging On In Unforgiving Climate."

Additional resources mentioned in article:

Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME)

Not mentioned in the article but of interest:
ISME & FORD Guide to Surviving in a Downturn

Ford teamed up with ISME to produce a useful guide for small business in the current climate 'Keeping the small business moving – A guide to surviving in a downturn', it gives advice on cash flow, general cost reduction and marketing as they relate to smaller business.

ISME & FORD Guide to Surviving in a Downturn (PDF)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Make the Holidays Your Own

"Christmas is a time when you get homesick -- even when you're home." ~ Carol Nelson

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wishing You a Bright and Shining Holiday Season Worldwide

It's a most wonderful time of year! All of us worker-bees at ( join in saying "Thank you" for your readership (and your comments). We wish you a Happy Holiday and a Successful New Year.
May 2010 be your year to take your business global!

Here's a look at Christmas in Rome. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Guess Who's Leading the World Out of a Downturn?

If you immediately thought Asia is leading us out of the downturn, you're right. Specifically, Hong Kong shows a burst of activity in consumer consumption.

An excerpt from the WSJ article, "Consumers Spend Asia Out of a Downturn."
"Chinese consumers are buying," says Dong Tao, regional Asia economist for Credit Suisse in Hong Kong. "Job prospects are good." Add what he calls "the spice of asset appreciation" in property and stocks, and folks feel richer.
All of that is good news for the world economy, which has relied on Asia to pull the world out of recession. The International Monetary Fund forecasts inflation adjusted growth in developing Asia will be 7.3% in 2010, compared to 3.1% globally. China has accounted for more than half of the world's economic growth the past three years, according to the IMF.
Still, Asia must rely on its exports to not just survive but to really thrive. More here.

Note: In observance of Christmas tomorrow, be sure to watch for our special holiday post.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Global Small Business Trends; How We Fared

How much came true of what we predicted in our top 10 global small business trends for 2009? I'd say we nailed nine out of ten (No. 2 -- dotMobi is still up in the air) but see for yourself here.

We'll put together another trusty list for 2010 soon. Watch for it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Do-It-Yourself Global Economy

There's certainly no good reason why you can't do this same project across borders. An excerpt from Thomas L. Friedman's Op-Ed column in The New York Times (12/12/09):
Two examples, one small, one large: The first is my childhood friend, Ken Greer, who owns a marketing agency in Minneapolis, Greer & Associates. The Great Recession has forced him to radically downsize, but the Great Inflection has made him radically more productive. He illustrated this by telling me about a film he recently made for a nonprofit.
“The budget was about 20 percent of what we normally would charge,” said Greer. “After one meeting with the client, almost all our communication was by e-mail. The script was developed and approved using a collaborative tool provided by Internally, we all could look at the script no matter where we were, make suggestions and get to a final draft with complete transparency — easy, convenient and free. We did not have a budget to shoot new footage, yet we had no budget either for stock photography the old way — paying royalties of $100 to $2,000 per image. We found a source,, which offered great photos for as little as a few dollars.
“We could easily preview all the images, place them in our program to make sure they worked, purchase them online and download the high-resolution versions — all in seconds,” Greer added. “We had a script that called for 4 to 5 voices. Rather than hiring local voice talent — for $250 to $500 per hour — we searched the Internet for high-quality voices that we could afford. We found several sites offering various forms of narration or voice-overs. We selected In less than one minute, we created an account, posted our requirements and solicited bids. Within five minutes, we had 10 to 15 ‘applicants’ ” — charging 10 percent of what Greer would have paid live talent.
“Best part,” he said, “within minutes we had sample reads, which could be placed into our film to see if the voices fit. We selected our finalists, wrote them with more specific instructions and within hours had the final read delivered to us via MP3 files over the Web. We could get any accent or ethnicity we wanted. For music, we used a site called,” where he could sample thousands of cuts of music and sound effects with the click of a mouse, and then buy them for pennies.
By being able to access all these cheap tools, Greer got to focus on his value-add: imagination.
Read the entire column here. When you attempt to access cheap tools and focus on your value add, take it global.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Making a World of Difference

Every Friday at 2:00 p.m. Eastern and 11:00 a.m. Pacific Dr. Amy Vanderbilt does any amazing job conducting live interviews on her website about national and global trends that you can turn into your personal and professional advantage. I had the wonderful opportunity ("thank you Amy!") to be featured on her happening program last Friday (12/18) under the theme of "A World of Difference: Trends Affecting the Global Business Environment in 2010 and Beyond" and concentrated on global business challenges and opportunities in 2010.

Find it here. And follow Dr. Vanderbilt on Twitter here.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Press the Go Global Button in 2010

As featured in the

Some Small Businesses Grow, Even in a Recession
Even before last fall’s crash, sales at Lexington International, a 12-employee maker of a laser device for treating hair loss, started heading south. “People cut down on nonessential health care items, and we really felt it,” said David Michaels, managing director of the company, which is based in Boca Raton, Fla., and was founded nine years ago. When he analyzed his company’s performance, Mr. Michaels concluded that the possibilities for domestic sales growth were slim. But he had started exporting his product, called HairMax, to Canada and Australia in 2001. Perhaps expanding to other countries was the answer.
Mr. Michaels turned to the Gold Key Service of the Commerce Department, hiring consultants who spent several months conducting industry research and visiting a handful of countries, the better to pinpoint potential distribution partners. Then, Mr. Michaels traveled to those places to meet his partners in person. At the same time, the consultants helped him understand the regulatory issues he would have to tackle in each country. Ultimately, the licensing process took three to nine months, depending on the region. The most difficult country was South Korea, which, Mr. Michaels said, has a particularly rigorous licensing procedure for medical devices.
Now, he is also selling to Russia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, in addition to South Korea, where, Mr. Michaels said, “There are significant social advantages to having a great head of hair.” He figures that international sales have more than compensated for the decline in the United States.
Read the entire article here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Who In Our World Celebrates Christmas?

Wondering whether December is a brisk time to market your wares internationally and if people in certain countries are receptive to holiday items? You might take a look at:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Honored to be Among Top List of Irish Americans

Irish America’s Annual The Business 100 is a celebration of Irish-American corporate success. The executives profiled here represent some of the most powerful corporations and in my case, global small businesses, in the world.

All of the Business 100 share one thing in common: pride in their Irish heritage. I can vouch for that. It is an honor to be highlighted as an honoree.

Read more on my entry here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Global Recognition for Award Winning Designs

Meet Joseph Joseph.
Twin brothers Richard and Antony Joseph founded Joseph Joseph in 2003, combining their respective experience in product design and business – Antony studied design at Central St Martins whilst Richard studied business at Cambridge University.

Specializing in contemporary kitchenware, Joseph Joseph is now internationally recognized for producing some of the most stylish and technically innovative products available, and has become one of the fastest growing companies in the worldwide homewares market.
Their unique ability to match form and function has earned them global recognition for their multi-award-winning designs.

For more information, go here. Makes for a nifty, unique holiday gift.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Incredible Shrinking Trade Gap

The shrinking trade gap is lifting our spirits and growth prospects.
"U.S. exports appear to be improving much faster than the domestic economy, suggesting that much of the improvement seen in the manufacturing sector reflects strengthening economic conditions abroad and the impact of the weaker dollar," said Nomura Securities economist David Resler.
Stronger-than-expected net exports lifted growth prospects for the current quarter. The forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers raised its estimate for fourth-quarter growth to 3.8% from 3.4%.
Read all about it here.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Winter World Wonderland

"As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December's bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same." ~ Donald E. Westlake

Posted by: Laurel Delaney, The Global Small Business Blog

Friday, December 11, 2009

Expand Into the Global Market

Although this is after the fact, it's still interesting and relevant to see that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in China are looking for ways to expand their businesses internationally.
"One of the key goals of this year's fair is to build an efficient trade platform for domestic SMEs to expand their business in the global market," said Lin Ying, secretary-general of the organizing committee.
Learn more here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Going Global Christmas Sale

Isn't this sweet?
Crafts, baked goods and rummage - all of these will be on sale at the 1st Maple Guides Going Global Christmas sale, Saturday, Dec. 5.
Learn more about it here.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Global Artistry in Delectable Dark, Milk and White Chocolates

We promised to provide you with unique gift ideas during the holiday season, and this one, Norman Love, is made in the U.S.A.
Norman Love® blends a master’s appreciation of the sensuous with the art of the chef to create handcrafted chocolates ... exquisite, silky, rich chocolates ... reserved for those who expect nothing less than perfection. Norman Love Confections® has been satisfying connoisseurs of fine chocolates since 2001, when the chocolatier first introduced the masterpieces he produces at his facility in Fort Myers, Florida.

Today, Norman enjoys international recognition for the incomparable, handcrafted natural sweets with tastes and textures that arouse the senses.
Think about someone special in your life -- employee, partner, spouse, friend, colleague, client, vendor, etc. -- and whether they might be in the mood for a nice surprise from you.

Learn more here.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Business Attire For Globetrotters; How to Fit In, Be Comfortable and Not Offend

Have you ever been overseas attending a business meeting and at the close of the gathering, someone suggested you meet afterward at a famous sauna to relax and further discuss business -- in the nude? I have -- at least up to the nude part (swimsuits do come handy while traveling overseas!).

Here's a great little article that covers this and many other awkward moments when traveling to foreign countries and how to deal with it in the most sensitive manner possible without offending anyone, losing yourself or the deal you're working on.

Where Yellow's a Faux Pas And White Is Death

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Need to Go Global in 2010

We featured the report, Taking on the World, in a recent edition of our monthly e-newsletter, Borderbuster, but for those of you who don't subscribe, we think it's important enough to re-highlight here. The report is published by KPMG Canada.
Growth opportunities for Canadian private companies don't always come from north of the border or sea to sea. Increasingly, foreign markets are the places to be if an organization is to achieve maximum growth in today's global economy. Indeed, Canada's future prosperity depends to a large extent on Canadian businesses' ability to compete globally by expanding successfully beyond the country's borders, thus taking full advantage of global markets and opportunities.
The report documents the extent of private companies' foreign operations to date; sheds light on the benefits of global expansion for private companies, and the key challenges and risks of doing so; and provides information about local employee and supply resources in foreign markets.
Access report: Taking on the World

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Outsourcing New Ideas

As funds dry up the world over, businesses are doing everything they can to continue down the path of generating new ideas (innovation). Have you considered outsourcing that aspect of your business to reduce costs, speed development time and tap into a pool of talent worldwide?

According to a recent article in the WSJ (special Business Insight Report), four situations call for outsourcing:
1. When companies would need to add lots of new knowledge to innovate, such as figuring out how to work with an unfamiliar chemical compound to make a different line of pharmaceuticals.
2. In the early stages of a project, when there are lots of technical hurdles to be overcome and the outcome is far from certain.
3. When intellectual property isn't well protected in the industry. In these cases, since new ideas spread quickly from company to company, it may not be possible to differentiate products with innovations. So, businesses turn to outsourcing to limit spending.
4. When companies have had lots of experience with outsourcing. Let's say all the factors above are equal—it's basically a toss-up between working on a project in-house and outsourcing it. In these cases, companies with a long track record of contracting tend to hand off the job to outsiders—three times as often, in fact, as businesses with average levels of experience in the practice. The costs and benefits of outsourcing are more certain for experienced firms, and they can better manage the situation to produce effective results.
Take a further look here to find out how outsourcing innovation works and affects performance.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Questions From First-Time Exporters

Delivered by FedEx and this is good news to see they have returned to putting a big push behind globalization!

Reading the Greens: Four Questions From First-Time Exporters

If you don't know what reading the greens means, go here.