Saturday, February 28, 2015

Snowwoman in Chicago

©2015 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
Don't ask me how I know it's a snowwoman as opposed to a snowman. She just is.  I took this photograph at Delaware and Michigan Avenue, Chicago.  Somebody was in a creative mood.  Thank goodness!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Watch for Disruption in the Global Accounting Software Space

Who hasn't heard of American software company Intuit?  They've been around since 1983 doing a great job providing easy and convenient accounting solutions to businesses of all sizes.  Now comes the disruptive part and enough that Intuit better not ignore.  It's clear that Intuit CEO Brad Smith is already on it with his recent article "Intuit's CEO on Building a Design-Driven Company," in the January/February 2015 - Harvard Business Review.

Now there's New Zealand-based software company Xero that develops 'beautiful' cloud-based accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses. The company has offices in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

And there's accounting software company The Sage Group who just recently announced a global agreement with that goes like this:
Sage has agreed to start using the Salesforce Customer Success Platform. Implementing the cloud based CRM system shows that Sage want to get close to Salesforce and get some kind of symbiotic partnership with the cloud giant. - Source:  The Sage Group Plc announces global agreement with Salesforce
Watch all these companies for future global competitive activity.  Bring it on as they say for each wants to play in every country!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Intuit Quickbook Interview: Why Small Businesses Are Poised To Expand Big Time Overseas

Below I discuss seven questions with Suzanne Kearns for Intuit Quickbooks:
  1. How much in U.S. goods gets exported each year, and has that figure increased in recent years?
  2. Are there indicators that show when a small business is ready for global trade?
  3. How should business owners determine which markets to expand in?
  4. What are some things business owners can do to attract foreign buyers to their website?
  5. How should business owners handle foreign currency transactions?
  6. What should small business owners know about shipping products overseas?
  7. Where can business owners learn about customs duties and foreign taxes?
Read the interview: Can Your Small Business Expand to a Global Market?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What Challenges Do Importers Face?

What is the one thing that will throw everything off on an import? Mistakes!  In this article, I talk about seven other critical issues affecting importers today and what you can do to avoid them.

Read:  8 Big Import Compliance Challenges

Monday, February 23, 2015

Today in Global Small Business: And the Award Goes To ...

What's affecting me, my clients, my colleagues and other global small business owners:

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Chicago Modern Skyscraper: The Aon Center

©2015 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
The Aon Center is a modern skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois (third tallest building in IL) and designed by architect firms Edward Durell Stone and The Perkins and Will partnership.  It was completed in 1974 as the Standard Oil Building.  There's talk about new owners ...

Friday, February 20, 2015

How to Eliminate the Surprise Factor Via Global Ecommerce

If you design your ecommerce site in such a way that your customer comes first, business should flow through nicely no matter what part of the world your customer resides.  But the way to really build a seamless and enjoyable online buying experience is to pay attention to a couple of other important details.  Here they are.

5 Ways to Prevent Surprises in Global Ecommerce

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Michele Ferrero, The Man Who Brought Nutella to the World, Dies

Tic Tac mints.  Ferrero Rocher chocolates.  Nutella spread.  All these delicious confectionery products are produced by Ferrero SpA, a $30 billion company, and brought to life by Michele Ferrero, who died at the age of 89.

He was a family man and had a great, global vision for his firm (well ahead of his time):
It was Michele Ferrero’s vision to expand internationally. In the 1950s, he opened production plants and offices in Europe. He expanded to the rest of the world starting in the 1970s. All the while the company shunned acquisitions, breaking into foreign markets by introducing products catering to local tastes.

Ferrero is the world’s fourth-biggest chocolate confectionery company, with 8% of the global chocolate market. No. 3 NestlĂ© has 12%, according to consumer research group Euromonitor’s data from 2013.
Read the obituary:  Italian Chocolatier Found Success with Nutella

And what a sweet ending ... he passed away on Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Borders Are Blurring and the World Is Getting Smaller

With the world getting smaller and borders blurring, this presents new opportunities for retailers to reach potential customers.

How is the future of global e-commerce going to develop?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Are You Running Your Business in the Dark or Digital Age?

In the dark age, you scramble to find customers.  In the digital age, customers from around the world should find you.  Which are you operating in?  There's only one way to find out.

How to Bring Your Business Into the Digital Age

Monday, February 16, 2015

Today in Global Small Business: Small Businesses Have a Voice on International Trade Agreements

What's affecting me, my clients, my colleagues and other global small business owners:

Friday, February 13, 2015

Make the World Your Business

I've always felt you should make the world your business but in this case, Shawn Hessinger, Executive Editor for Small Business Trends, offers a different twist, "Making the World Your Business Playground." He talks about companies that are small in size but operate globally, how communicating via email alone doesn't cut it, how working cross-culturally poses a new set of challenges and how going global brings on challenges that are not so obvious.

A special thanks to Shawn for quoting us and for including our advisory board member Kati Suominen.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Technology Is Changing the Meaning of Employable Skills Worldwide

The Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2014 Report "Growing Talent Today and Tomorrow" was released at it's global launch on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 in Davos, Switzerland.   The report focuses on the role of talent growth in enhancing countries' competitiveness, with Switzerland, Singapore and Luxembourg leading in the rankings.

The GTCI study reveals six key factors affecting talent competitiveness across countries of different GDP per capita and development levels, with one being:
  - Technology is changing the meaning of 'employable skills':  technological changes will affect new segments of the labor market, impacting the 250 million 'knowledge workers' globally today.
Access the report:  The Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2014

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Recession in Russia. Slowdown in China. What's It Mean?

©iStock/Doctor Bass
The International Monetary Fund has cut its growth forecasts for the global economy due to the slowdown in China, looming recession in Russia and continuing weakness in the eurozone.  The US is the only major economy where the IMF has raised growth forecasts for the next two years.  The rest of the world has global headwinds ahead.

Learn more about what this means:  IMF Cuts Global Economic Growth Forecasts

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Target New Countries For Growth

©iStock/Pichet W
Are you trying to grow your revenue and profitability?  Have you looked outside your own borders for new opportunities?  Why not target new countries where you don't already sell?

That's what UK SME online retailers are doing:
“There is a marked increase in the percentage of UK SME online retailers aiming to grow international sales in 2015, compared with 2014," says Nick Landon, managing director of Royal Mail Parcels.
Read the entire article:  UK's SME online retailers more confident on international trade

Note:  We cannot track Royal Mail's study that is referenced in the article.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Today in Global Small Business: What's Not Going Global?

What's affecting me, my clients, my colleagues and other global small business owners:

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Chicago: The Most Beautiful Great City Left in the World

©2015 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
"Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world." - Frank Lloyd Wright

Friday, February 06, 2015

What Happens When Dimensional Weight of a Box is Greater Than the Actual Weight?

There's a new dimensional weight factor that affects pricing on shipping boxes in the USA.  Whether you elect to ship feathers in a small or big box, just remember to multiply the box length by its height and width, and then divide that by 166 to reach its dimensional weight. Oh, and don’t forget to weigh the box, too. Make sure your measurements and weights are accurate. The new pricing method will apply to any package if the dimensional weight is greater than the actual weight.

Read:  The New Wrinkle Affecting Your Shipping Costs

Thursday, February 05, 2015

SBA International Trade Finance Webinar

Learn about export loans available through the U.S. Small Business Administration and other global business solutions from our Federal Government. In addition, you will get tips from a small business exporter who has used these programs successfully to enter new markets and increase export sales.  Lastly, you will hear directly from an SBA lender on how to prepare in advance to get the financing you need to grow your export business.  Video can be found here or you can click on it above.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The Key to Accessing Global Markets

Photo courtesy:  Apress
What if all small businesses could access global markets?  What if the challenges and uncertainties to conducting business internationally could vanish before your very eyes?  What if we could break down barriers to America's growth by working together to boost exports?

Yes we can all counts!

Expanding global access for small biz.  Solution:  Exporting:  The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably (99.9 percent of the battle to exporting lies in learning the mechanics of how to do it so this book spells it out in a way that is both empowering and useful).

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Take Your Small Business Phone System Anywhere with a Mobile VoIP Solution

Photo courtesy:  Telzio
(This post is sponsored by:  Telzio)

VoIP phone service can take care of your global and mobility needs as your business expands to new locations and employees expect BYOD benefits. You can get phone numbers from all over the world and use them in any location on your computer, desk phone or mobile device. It’s easy to manage all your numbers and users in one online account, no matter how many locations you have.

Here are 3 ways a VoIP phone system can assist in your quest for global expansion:

1. International Presence

You can get a local or toll free number in almost any country, making it easier for international customers to reach you. Some countries like Denmark require that you have a physical address in the country in order to get a phone number there, but for most countries it’s as easy as a few clicks.

You can browse phone numbers from over 50 countries here.

2. Virtualization

VoIP phone systems are managed completely on the web. There’s no software to be updated, no hardware to be stored in closets and everything is managed through your web browser.

You can have multiple offices and phone numbers around the world and still manage them all under one account. As long as you can connect to the Internet, you can access your phone system.

VoIP service is location agnostic. You can move your IP phones to another country and they would work just the same, using the same phone number it was calling with before.

3. Mobility

Softphones enable you to make and receive calls from a mobile device or computer. You can travel anywhere and manage business calls on your mobile device separately from your personal line.

Telzio recently launched a mobile softphone app that integrates with a fully hosted VoIP system. Starting from $1 per month, the app and a full set of professional features come included.

What to Watch Out for When Choosing a VoIP Provider

When comparing small business VoIP providers, you should ask yourself how many users you will need and who will be in charge of implementing your new phone system.

Users -- Users are the extensions and phones you need connected to your phone system. You will find that most VoIP providers charge user fees from $15 to $70 per month per user, but you have other options.

Plans from Telzio cater to small businesses and offer free users with all phone numbers. Instead of paying per user, you pay per phone number and add as many users as you need to each number.

Usability -- Whether it is you or the IT person who will be setting up and managing the system, you want to cut down the number of hours it will take.

Telzio has an easy-to-use admin panel and intuitive interface where you can be up and running in minutes. Built on the premise that anyone without IT experience could manage everything from start to finish, Telzio is the easiest way to get started with a VoIP phone system. You can see how the visual setup works at

Plans -- In this world we live in, hidden language and fees are everywhere. Make sure you find the fine print and know what you’re getting yourself into, especially if the VoIP provider requires contracts. If something is described as “unlimited”, it usually has a “fair use” cap written somewhere else. Getting people to pay for more than they use is how those big phone companies make more money after all.

About the Author

Diana Chu is the Chief Executive Officer of Telzio and has over 10 years of experience working with small businesses. Diana graduated from the University of Southern California where she studied Business and Entrepreneurship. Frustrated with deceptive telecommunication companies and horrible customer service, Diana is focused on supporting small business owners through enhanced, efficient and transparent phone services. 
“©2015 Telzio.  All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.”

Monday, February 02, 2015

Today in Global Small Business: Why SBA's Administrator Wants All Small Businesses to Partake in the Global Economy.

©iStock/Robert Thyrons
What's affecting me, my clients, my colleagues and other global small business owners: