Friday, November 30, 2012

Got An Overseas Plant? Scrutinize Working Conditions.

Photo courtesy:  ©Laurel Delaney 2012, "Hat Made Anywhere, World"
It's 3:00 a.m. local time.  Do you know where your products are made?  What about the conditions in the factory -- have you visited it lately to witness firsthand?

If you are uncomfortable addressing these questions, you better read:

Factory fire in Bangladesh ignites scrutiny over working conditions, overseas practices.

Here's the drift:
The garment factory in Bangladesh where 112 people were killed in a fire had been making clothes for Wal-Mart, Disney, Sears and other major global retailers — some of whom say they thought they had stopped doing business with the place.

The apparent confusion underscored what some industry experts say is a major obstacle to improving factory safety in developing nations ...
Bottom line:  Monitor your supply chain!  If you don't know who is making your product and under what conditions, who does?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why It Pays to Be Flexible in Foreign Markets

As a business owner, you've heard of being resilient in tough economic times but it also pays to be flexible all the time while conducting business internationally.
In the global game of exporting, flexibility is just as important, since almost any aspect of your original game plan may need to be adapted to local market conditions.
Read the entire article:  Going Global - Be Flexible in Foreign Markets

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Does Every Entrepreneur Dream of Going Global?

According to "Gidsy Shows How to Take Your Start-Up Global" (Tech Europe - WSJ - August 28, 2012):
Every entrepreneur dreams of going global.
That made my day.  See if it does for you too!

Related article:  Taking Your Startup Global (ReadWrite - July 23, 2012)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Multicultural Design

When you design for an international audience, it's like walking on thin ice.  You want a certain look or feel - only to find out well into a project - that a color you used means "death" in the foreign country.  Well that message will go nowhere!  And, more than likely, you have offended a whole lot of people in the process.

In Designing for Foreign Cultures, I outline five factors to consider when creating products, websites and marketing material for an overseas audience.  The key is to master the market you are entering and be extra sensitive to the people you are developing a design for.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Small Is Beautiful and Can Be Global

Top Photo Group/Thinkstock
When I was in my twenties, I remember reading Small Is Beautiful (excellent book) and every time I think about that title now, I want to change it to:  Small Is Global.

In "Never Too Small to Go Global," Bernard Paprocki makes a case that you are, well, never too small to go global.  Read his article here.

Related post, "Small Business Can Be Borderless"
(March 23, 2009):
Remember when E.F. Schumacher wrote the classic Small is Beautiful? I think about that all the time now with small businesses going global. One of Schumacher's philosophies was: "Why use the computer if you can make the calculation on the back of an envelope."

If he were to revise his book today, he might offer this: "Why remain local with a business if you can easily go global?"

Saturday, November 24, 2012

From Global Blogger to Breadmaker

©Laurel Delaney 2012, "Baked Rhodes Bread"
Here's my attempt at making homemade bread (as shown in photo).  Shhh ... it's my single greatest best-kept personal secret:  Rhodes Bake-N-Serv (and it's fabulous).  The loaf shown (I rarely use a regular loaf pan -- prefer a Bread 101 look!) is Rhodes Traditional (Frozen) White Bread (3-pack).  Now the world knows!  And the bread while baking makes the house smell like a little bakery.

Have a great weekend!

Full disclosure:  This is not a sponsored ad but I am hoping Rhodes sends me a lifetime supply of free bread! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Global Small Business Owner: Don't Keep Making Hamburgers When McDonald's Comes to Town

How does the owner of a small hamburger shop survive when McDonald's comes to town?  What does the little hardware store that provides unquestionable top-line service to the community do when Home Depot shows up a mile away?

In the case of the small hamburger shop, the owner needs to sell something else.  With the hardware store, it's similar -- sell more than hardware and offer more personal service -- something the big guys can't do as efficiently.
As a small business, it’s nearly impossible to protect yourself from this kind of assault. If you want to stand your ground and fight, then the best strategy is to ally yourself with other local businesses and pool your resources. Offer free cross-advertising campaigns and attack the large multinational threat together. While you can’t offer discounts on all your products to fight back, offering rotating sales on select products can attract customers. In an all-out war against the big guys, the enemy of your enemy is your best friend.
Learn more here.

Meanwhile, don't forget Small Business Saturday and Global Small Business Sunday.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Dear Readers!

©Laurel Delaney 2012, "The Garden"
"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." ~ Marcel Proust

Thank you all for your readership and Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Maximizing the Benefits of Globalization: European Perspective

The following report seeks to identify opportunities to make European industries more competitive by maximizing the benefits of globalization. 

Download the 285-page PDF-file report here:
European Competitiveness Report 2012

Breakdown of report here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


You've heard of Small Business Saturday but now we're proposing Global Small Business Sunday (11/25/12)!
It’s a fabulous idea to support your local community—business owners in your neighborhood who provide a pure American-made product or service—by purchasing their goods on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I also praise American Express for launching the movement, especially as it benefits the company if shoppers use their American Express card to make their purchases. But how do you shop the other 364 days of the year? Will you continue to support the local businesses—I hope so—or will you expand your purchases to include all over the world? 
Learn more:  Global Small Business Sunday:  ShopPlanet by Laurel Delaney

Monday, November 19, 2012

Who Has Enormous Power Over the World?

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock
According to Pakalert Press, a small group of companies have enormous power over the world.
“An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.”
After you read the article below, let me know if you still believe in the notion of a "free market!"

No Conspiracy Theory - A Small Group of Companies Have Enormous Power Over the World

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Global Ambition Takes Flight

Photo courtesy:  ©Laurel Delaney 2012, "Birds On a Pier"
"Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings." ~ Salvador Dali

Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The China Effect

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock
The 27-page report below is six years old but still relevant and worth a read.  From Oxford Economics:
Increasing trade and investment links with China are generating substantial benefits for the U.S. economy, boosting GDP by about 0.7% by 2010 and reducing prices by 0,8%. Together, these equate to an increase of $1,000 a year in average household real disposable income.
Download and read the entire report here.

As the report says, "Despite the growing US-China trade imbalance that has been capturing headlines, the long-term benefits to the United States of trade with China are substantial and likely to endure."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to Globalize Early and Rapidly

According to the article featured below, how well a technology startup addresses the realities of globalization will determine its success.
In this article, lessons that have been extracted from six literature streams and from information on 21 startups founded in 12 countries are used to identify the six elements that a startup must get right to globalize early and rapidly.
What must a management team get right to globalize a technology startup early and rapidly?

Find out here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

There They Go Again: China Blocks Google

The Chinese government blocked Google's major services late last week.
The ban shows that companies that espouse the free flow of information aren’t always welcome around the world, and they have to plan for the possibility that they might be shut down at any given moment. Google’s own stats showed a sharp decline in traffic from China, affecting everything from search to Gmail, Google’s email service. The Google Play mobile app store was also inaccessible from within China. Services returned in some parts of the country on Saturday, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Cause?  You decide.

Read ALL related Global Small Business Blog posts here.

Related blog post from blocked in China

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Payoffs, Bribes and Gifts in International Business: Avoid At All Costs

Payoffs, bribes or gifts should never, ever be a means to accomplishing your international business goals.

Example of an innocent bribe scenario:
After struggling for years to get that automotive accessory business in Korea, you switched sales agents in an attempt to nail it and suddenly out of nowhere -- and to your surprise -- got the business? Did you get the business because the new agent did a better job or did you get the business because the new agent bribed the automotive company without you knowing?
Find out more:  How to Avoid Bribes in International Business by Laurel Delaney

Monday, November 12, 2012

Prediction: China to Become World's Largest Economy by 2016

Looking to 2060: Long Term Prospects for the World, a report produced by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says China is projected to overtake the U.S. to become the world's largest economy as early as 2016.
“The United States is expected to cede its place as the world's largest economy to China, as early as 2016. India’s GDP is also expected to pass that of the United States over the long term."
Learn more here.

Report:  Looking to 2060:  Long Term Prospects for the World

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Are You a Global Thinker?

Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock
How do you break from the past and develop a global mindset?
The Global Thinkers Forum (GTF) is a non-profit initiative and a platform to create dialogue and bring current and future leaders together to discuss governance, society, progress and the future. GTF has been created to reposition perceptions about governance through a global perspective.
Global Thinkers Forum

Related article:  Leading With a Global Mindset

Friday, November 09, 2012

Globalization of Services Is Still In Infancy

According to WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy:
“The global economy is being transformed at an unprecedented speed and at the heart of that transformation is the services economy. (…) Services underpin every part of the production process, from research and development to design, engineering, financing, transportation, distribution and marketing. In short, without services, there would be little value-added and innovation.”
Learn more about the growth of the services economy here.

Related articles:  WTO | News - Speech - Director-General Pascal Lamy - Lamy:  "It is high time that we put services at the heart of our trade opening agenda"

New Release:  U.S. International Trade in Good and Services

Service Exports:  A Dynamic Option

Thursday, November 08, 2012

How to Manage an Import/Export Mistake

When things go bad in the global marketplace, communication is the key to turning things around in a positive direction.  Exploring and weighing options is equally important.

Below I share two real experiences—one export and the other import related – showing how creative thinking and playing to one’s strengths can provide simple solutions to what could have become a costly disaster in the import/export world.

Crisis Management:  What To Do When Your Import/Export Goes Wrong

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Is Globalization Shtick Getting Stale?

Are we giving a false picture of the world?  Rajan Menon argues that we are.
But the globalization shtick is getting stale, not just because it's become a mantra, but because it gives a false picture of the world we inhabit and presents a cartoonish view of our universities. (Yes, I know all about the complaints against higher education: point taken -- to a degree, anyway.)
Let's start with what's making the world what it is -- and changing it simultaneously. No one can deny that the advances ...
Read the entire opinion piece here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

CNN Projects: President Obama Wins Re-Election

Breaking news:

Who Favors Who in the USA Presidential Election?

As Gary, Indiana born Joseph E. Stiglitz, professor of economics at Columbia University, and recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics says:
Overwhelmingly, non-US citizens favor Barack Obama’s re-election over a victory for his challenger, Mitt Romney. There are good reasons for this.
Find out more: America's Global Election

Monday, November 05, 2012

Worldly Education: FREE

E-learning startup Udacity has partnered with Amara to use crowdsourcing for closed captioning of its video assets.  Udacity's free online classes have been attended by some 750,000 students since Udacity’s launch in January.
Closed captioning could not only help Udacity to make its content accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing students, but also be the first step towards an international expansion.  
Learn more here.

Related article:  Disruptive Coursera ...

Saturday, November 03, 2012

A Worldly City: Chicago

©Laurel Delaney 2012, "View From The Mid-America Club Chicago"
Up on the 80th floor of The Mid-America Club Chicago.  Breathtakingly beautiful views of the city.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 02, 2012

USA Ports Take On Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs)

Related to yesterday's post on foreign trade zones, it appears that most of Napa County is about to become part of a foreign trade zone, via an expansion plan by the Port of San Francisco.
Being included in a foreign trade zone “is an excellent opportunity for businesses to enhance their competitiveness in the global economy,” and will hopefully stimulate trade-related business and create jobs in the area, Jim Maloney, maritime marketing manager at the Port of San Francisco, said.
Learn more here.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Establishing a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ)

A foreign-trade zone is a dedicated area where goods can land, be repackaged, modified, manipulated, relabeled, manufactured further and re-exported without customs authorities stepping in.  An FTZ is especially beneficial to firms that import components in order to manufacture finished products for export.

But how do you establish a foreign trade zone (FTZ)?

Find out here.