Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Will It Be Unsafe for Gay People to Travel In Russia?

Here's the scoop.  It starts with columnist Chicagoan Dan Savage authoring, "Why I'm Boycotting Russian Vodka."  He makes a plea for gay people to stop drinking Russian vodka to protest the Kremlin's aggressive anti-gay laws.  It's now a movement that has gay bars all around the world dumping Russian vodka to show their displeasure with the country's treatment of gay people.

According to The Atlantic Wire:
True, these viral movements often get branded as "slacktivism," a term that suggests people are not really doing anything to help the cause at hand. But, then again, the vodka ban is not asking for your money — only your attention to the plight of gays in Russia and, perhaps, a moment of thought about whether you want to patronize companies that might be a little too friendly with the Kremlin. 
Read the entire article:  Gay Bars' Ban on Russian Vodka Is Going Global

Savage writes a syndicated relationship and sex advice column Savage Love (appears weekly in the Chicago Reader).

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Innovation Has Become More Global

According to Soumitra Dutta for Businessweek, innovation has become more global and the trend will continue in the immediate future. What's the impact on global businesses?
Senior managers considering global expansion should evaluate the local innovation scene to see if the dynamics are there to act as a petri dish for growth on an international scale.
Read the entire article:  Expand Globally, Innovate Locally

Note: Dr. Soumitra Dutta is dean of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Time to Rethink Globalization

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Lady Flowering Head

The mysterious Lady Flowering Head at Navy Pier, Chicago.

Have a good weekend!

Photo credit:  ©2013 Laurel Delaney.  All rights reserved.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Factors to Consider For New Importers

Below is an article I wrote for the Import and Export site.  I offer eight tips for new importers - covering everything from the importance of trusting your supplier, to determining if you need a license, to making sure merchandise can freely enter the United States.

So you can breathe a sense of relief and smile knowing all will go smoothly.

Read:  Eight Tips for New Importers

Photo courtesy: ©2013 Laurel Delaney.  All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

How to Lead a Global Enterprise

Harvard Business School has a new executive education program entitled, "Leading a Global Enterprise."  It's taught by HBS professors Bill George and Krishna Palepu.

The Program:
The 21st century is the era of globalization. To sustain success in this rapidly changing landscape, global companies must develop a cadre of leaders who can operate throughout the world, lead global product and marketing teams, and create strategies that are effective globally and locally. To that end, HBS Professors Bill George and Krishna Palepu, renowned global leadership visionaries, have developed a highly personalized, one-week course that is designed to help you take your own leadership to higher levels and build greater global leadership capabilities within your company.
Learn more and apply here (program starts July 28th and runs until August 2nd; cost is $13,000).  Be sure to watch the one-minute video Professor George gives (upper right sidebar).

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How About Mexico for Manufacturing?

I interviewed Carlos Balderrama, executive president of CODESIN about Sinaloa, a state in northwest Mexico. What follows is an excerpt from our interview, when we talked about what makes Sinaloa a good investment opportunity right now.
Laurel Delaney: Not too many people have heard of Sinaloa, Mexico. Why is that?

Carlos Balderrama: Americans are better acquainted with Mazatl├ín, which is located on the south coast of the state and considered one of the premier tourist destinations of Mexico. We are a state with an agricultural and food industry tradition; even though we have only 3 percent of the nation’s territory and 2 percent of its population, we are responsible for 30 percent of Mexico’s total production of food and also supply much of the off-season produce to the United States.
Read the entire interview:  An Interview with Carlos Balderrama of CODESIN

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

When You Have Customer Support, Expand Globally

Mary Brown's Famous Chicken, the second largest chain of quick service chicken restaurants in Canada, is expanding globally.  MB just opened an office in Istanbul, Turkey, and has spent the past four years developing globally.

Read or listen to the article via a Media Player here:  Mary Brown's Expanding Globally

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tip of the Day: Talk to Veteran Exporters

The National Small Business Association (NSBA) and the Small Business Exporters Association provides the following tips for small businesses new to exporting.  Here's one of them:
Talk to veteran exporters: You can learn a lot from small-business owners who are exporters, said NSBA Chairman David Ickert, who’s also a vice president at Air Tractor, an Olney, Texas, company that exports crop-dusting and firefighting aircraft to about 20 countries.
Read the entire article here.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Happy Birthday No. 9 to The Global Small Business Blog!

The Global Small Business Blog turns 9 today.  We started the blog July 20, 2004 (read the first post to the blog) and here we are nine years later claiming the No. 1 spot on the Internet for small businesses and entrepreneurs interested in going global!

A special thanks to Google (our host for the platform) and to all of you - our readers -  for your continued support and interest in what we have to say and report.

So raise your glasses, whether water or champagne (dependent upon your time zone), and make a toast to our success!

Have a great weekend and back with you on Monday.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Cross-Border Trade Poised to Grow for Small Businesses

HSBC has set aside U.S. $1 billion in loans for small and medium-sized businesses that are expanding internationally (China, Brazil and Hong Kong, for example).  To pre-qualify, you must run an established business that has annual revenue between $3 million and $500 million, but may or may not have dipped their toes into the international markets.

Head of HSBC's U.S. Business Banking Mark Luppi says the following:
"Based on the research we've done, 27% of small businesses are doing some sort of cross-border [transaction].  We expect that to grow to 40% over the next 12 to 24 months."
Read entire article here.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cautionary Tale in International Expansion

Airbnb, the world leader in travel rentals, is trying not to become another cautionary tale in international expansion.

At a valuation of $2.5 billion, five-year-old San Francisco-based Airbnb has slowed down hiring in its international operation.

Find out why here.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Expand Your Company's Culture

In the article below, Allen Morrison, professor of global management and the holder of the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Chair for Responsible Leadership at IMD ( talks about the importance of diversification as key to global expansion.  In addition, he says:
"Our research has shown that when a company does 50 percent of its business internationally, its performance can be optimized when it hires roughly a quarter of its executives from the countries in which it plans to operate.  The average among many leading American companies is a ratio of 17 percent foreign executives in a company that does roughly 40 percent of its business internationally.  In Europe, the average is slightly higher."
Read the entire article here.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Shipping Overseas a Logistical Nightmare?

Sometimes I have to shake my head in disbelief wondering if people are living in caves these days.  Consider the question asked by a reader to Heino Beckmann, Associate professor, Finance Department, University of St. Thomas, Opus College of Business over at the Star Tribune:
Shipping overseas appears to be a logistical nightmare for a small business. What resources are available to aid businesses that are expanding to new global markets?
Find Heino's answer here.

Meanwhile, for those coming out of a cave, there are a couple of companies that specialize in shipping globally.  (Trust me, shipping internationally is never a logistical nightmare.) You might try:
P.S.  When I read questions like this, I can't wait for my new export book to be out!  It's scheduled for release February 2014.  I'll keep you posted.

Monday, July 15, 2013

America: Breathing Life Into Dreams

Digital Vision/Thinkstock
If there is one thing you read today, read this:

by George P. Schultz, a former secretary of labor, Treasury and state, and director, Office of Management and Budget, is a distinguished fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution

Excerpt in opinion piece where Schultz is quoting Ronald Reagan:
"While other countries cling to the stale past, here in America we breathe life into dreams. We create the future, and the world follows us into tomorrow. Thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we're a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge, always leading the world to the next frontier.

"This quality is vital to our future as a nation. If we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost."

Saturday, July 13, 2013

This Weekend: Do and Dare

"The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore." ~ Dale Carnegie

Photo courtesy:  ©2013 Laurel Delaney.  All rights reserved.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Golden Rules to Going Global

John Quirk, partner at Howard & Company, which specializes in growing Kiwi businesses on the international stage, has learned a few things about how to build a global company from New Zealand.  He share some of his golden rules to going global below.
No. 1:  The 321 Rule.  The rule is everything will take you three times as long as planned. It will be twice as expensive as budgeted and you will only want to do it once. That said, it can be an exciting journey with significant financial gains. 
No. 2:  "The ghost of Ned Kelly" ... what might that be?!

Read the entire article to learn more:  The rules of going global

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Do Corporations Have More Rights Than Global Citizens?

Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for begin their thought-provoking article with:
We are in the midst of an epic battle between the people of the world and transnational corporations. Wealthy governments and corporations are merging in a global system in which private corporations have absolute power over your life. This is a battle the people can win and when we do it will show that we can defeat corporate power on issue after issue.
They go on to say that the "Obama administration is currently mired in an ambitious project to accomplish both the continuation of the WTO’s agenda and a restructuring of NAFTA in ways that place corporate property rights over protection of people and the environment."

See if you agree.

Read the entire article:  Stopping the Trans-Pacific Partnership:  Global Revolt Against Corporate Domination

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Going Global From the Outset

Jason Green at PandoDaily provides some pointers on why and how companies are going global from the start.  In addition, he discusses how to leverage the cloud-based platforms to simplify global deployment.
According to a recent PricewaterhouseCooper’s study, almost 40 percent of US CEOs intended to complete a cross-border deal in 2012, compared to 25 percent in 2011.
Read the entire article: The business cloud:  Going global from the start

Monday, July 08, 2013

A Bright Spot in Global Trade?

According to Mike Cavanagh, co-chief executive officer of JPMorgan's Corporate and Investment Bank, China is poised to serve as one of the bright spots for the expansion of its global business.  As a result, the company plans to continually invest in China.
"This is one of the most exciting markets in the world," Cavanagh said. "We have our own locally incorporated bank with seven branches across China and a number of joint ventures in asset management, securities, underwriting and futures and options. We promise to continue investing and the momentum is really strong."
Read the entire article:  China provides 'source of strength to global economy'

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Oh How the World Loves Coca-Cola!

Photo taken at Crosby's Kitchen (Chicago) of a magnificent illustration on a brick wall outside of the restaurant showing a young man drinking Coca-Cola (looks like Norman Rockwell art). 

Photo courtesy:  ©2013 Laurel Delaney.   All rights reserved.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Ways to Build Trust In a Global Business (or Any) Relationship

Here's my latest contribution for Pitney Bowes (a client) entitled:  Six Ways to Build Trust in a Global Business Relationship

As one reader said:
Thanks for posting this, Laurel. Lot's of valuable insight in this article. I would say that much of it applies to personal relationships as well as professional ones, too!
I hope you find it useful.  If you do, pass it along to someone else who you know might benefit from it.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy 237th Birthday, America!

We are the greatest land on earth and the future will always belong to America!  Happy 4th of July everyone!

Photo courtesy:  ©Laurel Delaney.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Small Businesses Can Thrive Because of Exports

Great feature on world trade and small business by John Murphy at Free Enterprise!
In the United States, entrepreneurs and their firms have played a big role in the boom in trade over the past few years. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. SMEs continued to expand their share of U.S. merchandise exports to 33% in 2011 (latest available data), up from 27% in 2002.
In the article, he talks about opening overseas markets, eliminating foreign barriers and how free trade agreements can open doors to international success for small businesses.

Read:  Main barrier to selling internationally?  Lack of information.  Where to start.

Tip:  Be sure to watch the three videos on small business owners talking about how they are thriving because of exports.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Think and Design Without Borders: An Interview with Michael Ellis, 5+design

Below is an interview I conducted for the Import/Export site with Michael Ellis, managing partner at 5+ design.  We discuss what triggered international expansion for 5+design, what was the scariest thing about going global, and what continues to drive the firm's international growth - the markets, people, great work or all of these!

Read the entire interview:  How an Architectural Firm Expands from Local to Global in One Year

Monday, July 01, 2013

Failure to Respect International Labour Rights Gets a Country Suspended Trade Benefits

Shame on Bangladesh.  Due to their alleged failure to respect international labour rights, U.S. President Barack Obama suspended Bangladesh's trade (export) benefits under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

This came about after the collapse of a building in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,200 textile and garment workers.

Read more:  Obama Suspends Bangladesh's Trade Benefits Over Labour Rights (the picture in the article says it all)