Thursday, March 31, 2011

How to Cut Costs on Export Sales

My recent contribution for the American Express OPEN Forum through my relationship with Small Business Trends:

8 Ways to Cut Costs on Export Sales
by Laurel Delaney

1. Shift your production to a nation with lower labor costs. For example, if you currently manufacture in North America, try outsourcing to Vietnam, Indonesia or Malaysia, where the labor cost is cheaper and the quality acceptable. At the same time, examine potential transportation costs (refer to No. 7) to ensure you maintain, or even lower, that part of your overseas expenses.
What are some other ways in which you have tightened your belt -- reduced expenses -- on export sales to ensure you maintain decent profits?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Export-Import Bank Awards Small-Business Exporter of the Year 2011

According to Export-Import Bank of the United States, the small-business Exporter of the Year 2011 award winner is: Wayne, Pennsylvania-based Wallquest Inc.
Wallquest Inc., a family-owned firm based in Wayne, Pa., sells wallpaper in more than 50 foreign markets, including China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Brazil, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. Last year, the company’s exports rose 76% to over $17 million. The company’s growth since 2008 has been driven by the export market, according to Wallquest Vice President Jack Collins.
Learn more here.  Press release here.

Congratulations to Wallquest.  May their exports keep growing!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How to Establish Healthy Global Business Relationships On LinkedIn

Proceed with caution and use a critical eye when evaluating posts and search results on LinkedIn or any other social networking platform.

With this article for's Import and Export site (full disclosure:  I serve as their guide), I provide examples of what to avoid and what to look for when identifying potential import/export opportunities.


LinkedIn:  How to Pre-Qualify Import and Export Opportunities on LinkedIn

Let's connect:  Laurel Delaney, LinkedIn

Monday, March 28, 2011

News From Around the World

As reported from the Arizona Daily Star:
A 49-foot-tall head is fixed on a torso with cranes and integrated into a floating stage on Lake Constance near Bregenz, Austria. The stage is being prepared for the opera "Andre Chenier," which will premiere July 20 at the Bregenz Opera festival.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The World In Words

How to stay on top of the word:  Combines the elements of geography with typography.  Created by German designer Dirk Schaechter.  Cool.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Competitive Import/Export Intelligence

In case you missed this, there are three online resources (that I am aware of) that offer import/export trade data, competitive intelligence and more.

Learn all about them here.  Sign up for the newsletter while you're there.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Healthy and Productive Global Citizenry

Image Source/Thinkstock
Douglas Besharov and Douglas Call co-author an article for The Wilson Quarterly, "The Global Budget Race," which talks about how the United States must make tough choices in order to climb out of its current debt crisis.

Those countries that do a better job of bringing revenues and spending into balance—in a way that fosters a healthy and productive citizenry—will have a competitive advantage in the global economy, and they may be able to avoid economic decline.
Read the entire article (Autumn 2010) here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

As It Relates to Global Business, What Is a Triple Bottom Line?

This commentary is really about:  is it harder to run a business in China than America? That should draw your interest! But take a good look at how contributor Liam Casey, founder and CEO of PCH International, covers what a "triple bottom line" is and how it can help companies achieve a successful and sustainable global business model.

Read the entire piece here.

Posted by:  The Global Small Business Blog

Monday, March 21, 2011

How a Calamity Can Create Positive Change

The tragedy in Japan caused by a magnitude-9 earthquake and turbo-charged tsunami leads one to think the unthinkable:  Will Japan recover?

With a culture like this (refer below), how can they not slowly rebuild?
In the face of calamity, a decent people has proved extremely resilient: no looting; very little complaining among the tsunami survivors. In Tokyo people queued patiently to meet their tax deadlines. Everywhere there was a calm determination to conjure a little order out of chaos. Volunteers have rushed to help. ~ The Economist, Japan's hydra-headed disaster:  The fallout
Read the entire article here.

And Mr. Howard Stringer, chairman, CEO and President of Sony Corp. writes a commentary for The Wall Street Journal (3/18/11) that I wish I would have written.  I so agree with his sentiments about the Japanese having a national spirit of grace, generosity, and common cause that just never gives up.

Read the entire article:  Howard Stringer:  The Japanese Will Persevere and Never Give Up

A recent article I authored before the Japan crisis for (Import and Export):  Japan Business:  5 Ways to Build Harmony With Japanese Customers

And an old piece about my experience doing business in Japan reflecting my love of the country and its people:  An American Trader in Japan.

Posted by:  Laurel Delaney, The Global Small Business Blog

Saturday, March 19, 2011

World Power

Photo credit: Laurel Delaney, power grid in Tinley Park, IL; laying on the ground looking up while taking the photo.
“Power is not alluring to pure minds” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Friday, March 18, 2011

Brazil Wants Balance With the United States

The United States wants to (re)strengthen its ties with Brazil and Brazil is all for it.  Recently, China overtook the United States as Brazil's biggest trading partner in 2009.  China became Chile's leading export market in 2007.
The United States imported $27 billion from Brazil in 2008, compared to China's $16 billion, according to the Inter-American Development Bank. 
Read more here about how the United States will most likely restructure its partnership with Latin America -- soon.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Favorite Time: St. Patrick's Day

An Irish Blessing
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

May God be with you and bless you:
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.

Everyone the world over is Irish on St. Patty's Day!  Have a happy one.  This one's for you dear Dad, Thomas S. Delaney (God rest his soul January 8, 2011).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What Does Import Duty Evasion Look Like?

Infant and youth furniture resource Kid Brands fired two executives from its LaJobi subsidiary (notice recalls here) in response to alleged evasion of paying import duties in the wood bedroom furniture antidumping case.

What did they do wrong?
  • Applied import duties incorrectly to products imported from various Chinese resources, a violation of antidumping regulations.
  • Practiced unfair pricing tactics.
  • Misidentified the manufacturer and shipper of products.
Read the entire story here to get a feeling of what import duty evasion looks like and to learn how to avoid these import problems on your own transactions.

And, I would be cautious with the LaJobi brand for your loved ones.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How To Take A Company Global by Laurel Delaney

Image Source/Thinkstock
This piece was published four (4) years ago yet most of the links not only still work but also shed light on how to take a company global.

So if you are a newcomer to this blog, dig in -- this one's for you.  For everyone else who's been with me since 2004, you might re-visit this piece because I am certain there's something you missed and could use to grow your business global!

50 Ways to Go Global
by Laurel Delaney

Monday, March 14, 2011

Who Will Be The Next U.S. Commerce Chief?

According to Peter Cohen's commentary, there are three names in the hat:  Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Ron Kirk, U.S. trade negotiator and Jeffrey Kindler, the former CEO of Pfizer.

Cohen gives his assessment of the candidates.  He also references:
The administration's goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years is an ambitious goal, no matter who next fills the role of commerce secretary. Based on the latest numbers, U.S. exports rose 16.6% to $1.83 trillion in 2010. At that level we'd need to boost exports another 70% to reach $3.1 trillion by 2014. 
And read this part carefully:
At this point, I should disclose that I have a small personal connection to this story:   This year, I have a new book coming out about how small and medium-sized businesses can enter global markets, titled Export Now: Five Keys to Entering New Markets.  I co-authored it with former Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Frank Lavin, and Secretary Locke wrote the forward.
Keep tabs on it.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Internet: An E-Revolution For the Digital Global Entrepreneur

Photo credit:  Laurel Delaney, shot from car heading East on Wacker Drive about 5:00 p.m. CST on 3/10/11 -- that's the Wrigley Building dead center (clock).
My debut column on global business for Crain's Chicago Business Enterprise City blog (in case you missed it):
In 1998, my book “Start & Run a Profitable Exporting Business” (read it free: was published. Since then, it has become a source for entrepreneurs and small businesses interested in exporting their products and services internationally. But let’s face it — a lot has happened in the past 13 years. Starting an export business was a good idea then, but now is an even better time to take your business global.

What’s been the single most influential change for businesses since 1998?

Read the entire column here:
Laurel Delaney:  The Internet is a Global Entrepreneur's Best Friend

Watch for more on Wednesdays.  Follow @EnterpriseCity on Twitter!  And follow me while you are at it:  @LaurelDelaney!

Have a great weekend!  Back with you on Monday.

Posted by:  The Global Small Business Blog

Friday, March 11, 2011

Our Thoughts and Prayers Are With the People of Japan

Considered the worst quake (8.9) in Japan's history ... we are heartbroken and send our hope and prayers to the victims of this devastating episode.

I am so glad to hear that the United States is sending Navy ships with supplies and aid to help the quake-ravaged Japan.

Making International Trade Work For You

Once in a while I lose track of just how much UPS helps small businesses conquer the world.

Are you aware of UPS Capital?
UPS Capital, a UPS company, is focused primarily on providing financial services to businesses whose supply chains span international borders, such as U.S.-based businesses that manufacture or import goods overseas for sale in the U.S.
Is that your company?  Then pay UPS Capital a visit here.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Inside Secrets To Taking a Business Global

What's the toughest part of taking a business global?  From what people say, it's usually, "My products are not exportable.  Too complex.  Cost prohibitive."

Excuses, excuses ... don't get me wrong, some of these reasons for not crossing borders might apply but in most instances, you can get up and running with your business internationally within about a day.  I'm serious.

Finding your first good customer is the toughest part of the whole deal.  After that, everything else falls into place from arranging payment (your banker can assist) to transporting your product (contact UPS, FedEx or DHL) to after-service sales (use Skype or email for goodness sakes).

If you want additional secrets to taking a business global, read "Finding Gold in Global Sales."

Ready, set, go global!

Posted by:  The Global Small Business Blog

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

As a Result of the Royal Wedding 2011, How Will You Grow Your Business Global?

A new website was launched providing all the latest official information on the upcoming royal wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton (pictured).

The website will be regularly updated with new details about the Friday, April 29 ceremony at Westminster Abbey, as well as new features, videos, photos and more.

My question is this:  What items are you currently manufacturing that could be tweaked and potentially sold in London and elsewhere in the world to celebrate this event? Special pins, cuff links, ribbons, banners, socks, folding seats (to watch the wedding), etc.

Seems like an awfully good way to ride on the wave of success on what is going to be the wedding of a lifetime and take your business global at the same time!

Note:  Minor detail in the grand scheme of things but I noticed that the website was implemented by Accenture (a firm already capturing global opportunity on this event).

Posted by: The Global Small Business Blog

Monday, March 07, 2011

How Many SMEs in the EU?

According to the European Commission Enterprise and Industry, there are more than 23 million SMEs in the EU, representing 99% of all European businesses.

Fact No. 1
The 23 million SMEs in the EU represent 99% of businesses, and are a key driver for economic growth, innovation, employment and social integration. The European Commission aims to promote successful entrepreneurship and improve the business environment for SMEs, to allow them to realize their full potential in today's global economy.
Fact No. 2
What is even more intriguing is that nine out of ten SMEs are actually micro enterprises with less than 10 employees. Hence, the mainstays of Europe's economy are micro firms, each providing work for two persons, in average. This is probably one of the EU's best kept secrets!
Learn more here.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Sweet Home Chicago: Soldier Field

Photo credit:  Laurel Delaney
Soldier Field (pictured), home to many amazing Chicago events.  Stadium history here.

Have a great weekend my worldly readers.  Back with you on Monday.

Posted by:  The Global Small Business Blog

Friday, March 04, 2011

Global Food Prices Hit Record High

I know this to be true.  Why just last night I bought a 26 oz. can of Maxwell House coffee for U.S. $11.79!  Yes, I like one good cup of coffee early in the morning to start the day right but what a price to pay!

So if you are in the food industry, you better start raising prices *slowly* to your customers now so you don't end up eating into your year-end profit margins.  Or, worse yet, don't smack your customers with a huge price hike all at once.  That's a sure-fire way to lose a customer.  Small price adjustments always work better.

Read the article here.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Take Your Software Global

We love "meaty" freebies and anything tied to globalization!  Acclaro -- provider of comprehensive translation and localization services for software, websites, documents and marketing initiatives of all kinds -- is offering a complimentary software localization webinar that will help you take your first step towards tapping into new international markets.

Register here.

Hurry ... the webinar is this Thursday, March 3rd!

Posted by:  The Global Small Business Blog

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Sweet Singapore

Photo credit:  Laurel Delaney, Singapore
Some tips and stats on doing business in Singapore.

Singapore: The Entrepreneurial Capital of the World
by Laurel Delaney, Import and Export Guide,

Posted by:  The Global Small Business Blog