Thursday, April 01, 2010

How to Grow Your Business Globally and Capitalize on the Rebounding Economy

Eyecandy Images/Thinkstock
On February 9th, I served as a panelist for the San Francisco-based SMB Summit, "How Businesses Can Capitalize on the Rebounding Economy," that was hosted by Verio and Inc. Magazine and for private-company CEOs, business owners, and Inc. 500|5000 alumni. It was a great experience to share insights with other leading experts in the SMB sphere, including:
  • Donna Fenn, Moderator, International Author, Contributing Editor/Blogger at Inc. Magazine
  • Mitchell Merrifield, Senior Director of Managed Computing Solutions, Verio, Inc.
  • Brian Burch, Director of SMB Marketing, Americas Region, Personal Systems Group, Hewlett-Packard Company
  • Laurel Delaney, President,
  • Kristin Micalizio, V.P. Strategic Initiatives, Office Depot North America
  • Alex Freemon, Volunteer, Silicon Valley Chapter, SCORE
My focus was on how small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) can grow and capitalize on the rebounding economy by taking their businesses global. Here are some of the questions I addressed, my responses, stories I shared and some other issues that came up as a result of our lively conversation (attendees were magnificent!).


Q: Let’s start by addressing the 800-pound gorilla in the room: Is the economy rebounding? Tell us if you’ve seen some glimmers of recovery; how are you reading the tea leaves?

My response: Not really, although I find it hard to imagine it getting any worse. We are at rock bottom so the only way is up. Nothing, other than the “tech” industry, tells me there’s a rebound. What I mean by that is Cisco (Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers indicated, “This is one of the most robust positive turnarounds I’ve seen in my career”), Microsoft, IBM, Apple, NetSuite and Google all reported stunning profit results for the last quarter of 2009, which means SMB owners might be getting more tech savvy in preparation for a slow recovery. But let’s face it, money is not just tight. There is no money for growth unless you are running an established business with a wildly successful track record. That’s scary for people who have insanely great ideas and can’t get them funded. The good news for SMB owners who are tinkering with the notion of taking their business global is that our commerce secretary, Gary Locke, pledged $6 billion a year in export financing for USA small businesses through the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

Aside from all this, the only real sign I am seeing with SMB owners related to recovery is ...
Read the entire piece here.

Posted by: The Global Small Business Blog


Steven said...

What would be your recommendation for those small business-entrepreneur types who do have that "insanely great idea" but lack the funding to break into the market?

Laurel Delaney said...

Hi, Steven,

Is the "insanely great idea" a product or a service?