Friday, September 30, 2016

The Cloud: Changing How Global Small Businesses Operate

Technology allows us the opportunity to connect with anyone, anywhere in the world -- unlocking an enormous opportunity for business owners worldwide to grow like never before.

We have a new level of power that's just waiting to be leveraged.  It's the power of the cloud, and once fully utilized, will change how global small businesses operate.
Entrepreneurs and small businesses will be able to monitor the locations and activity of every physical asset, from the parcels shipped by a boutique craft seller to the widgets installed by tradies. But it’s not simply going to be about location and whether the device is working or not.
Read more:  Here's how the next wave of tech advances will transform small business in Australia

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Have Faith in U.S. Leadership: Let's Cross the Finish Line on TPP

Let's face it.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will boost exports, help us shape the rules of the global economy, and create jobs.  Then why are we stalling on passing TPP and why are both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton against it?

According to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, leaders from several TPP trading partners have made it clear that a U.S. failure to ratify the deal before President Obama leaves office “will require them to hedge their bets and consider closer relations with others in the region” like China.
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said small- to medium-sized businesses are the “biggest beneficiaries” of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and that failing to ratify the deal would broadly hurt the U.S.'s reputation in the rapidly growing Pacific region.
Fact:  98% of U.S. exporters are small businesses and they account for more than 1/3 of U.S. exports.

Read more:  Pacific deal will boost exports for small businesses | TheHill

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Who's Bullish on International Trade?

According to a survey commissioned by FedEx Corp. and conducted by research firm Morning Consult LLC:
About 65 percent of small businesses that engage in international trade report increases in revenue, compared with 46 percent of small businesses that do not trade, according to the survey. Small businesses that trade are also 20 percent more likely to say they are hiring more employees.
So why aren't more small businesses engaged in international trade?

Read more:  New FedEx survey finds small, mid-sized firms bullish on trade

Monday, September 26, 2016

Today in Global Small Business: Why You Can't Do Global Deals All Alone

©iStock/Rawpixel Ltd.
What's affecting me, my clients, my colleagues and other global small business owners:

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Reckless Records in Chicago: New and Used Vinyls, Cassettes, CD's and DVD's

Since 1989, the coolest of cool stores in Chicago.  Worth a visit:

Photo credit:  ©Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.  Taken Friday, September 23, 2016 at 26 E. Madison Street, Chicago, IL.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Free to Choose Global Trade

The two main candidates for USA president both have it wrong.  Trade is good for us.  I'm pro-trade.  Even Nobel-prize winning economist Milton Friedman said:

"The social and moral issues are all on the side of free trade. And it is you, and people like you [a union official that challenged him on his bid to eliminate all tariffs over five years], who introduce protection who are the ones who are violating fundamental moral and social issues."

It's worthy of a look at Milton Friedman's Morals.  And see what else a bad trade deal can do to our global economy.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Where Is There a Treasure Trove of Overseas Opportunities for U.S. Middle Market Businesses?

Oh come now.  You may think that Asian and European markets are the best and most prosperous markets to enter when expanding your business internationally.  Not according to a recent report, "Winning in the Americas."

The report, co-authored by the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM) and TradeUp Capital Fund, a premier fundraising platform for globalizing companies, concludes that the best opportunities for U.S. middle market companies (those with annual revenues between $10 million and $1 billion) lies in Latin America.

Surprised?  So am I.  To feed your curiosity and to learn the facts, visit:  NCMM Report Finds that the US Middle Market is "Winning in the Americas"

While you are at it, take action on two other things that will help you expand your business internationally:
  1. Sign up for TradeUp Capital Fund's newsletter
  2. Determine the strength of an export market you wish to enter (new tool that is very cool!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Two Tips to Avoid on the Import Process

There are many questions you need to address before you begin an import process.  Details such as, which country should you import from; how do you find a reputable supplier; and how do you know what you don’t know when it comes to compliance issues?

Here are two tips that oftentimes go under the radar:  Stay Clear of These Two Import Landmines

Note:  This is a new article I wrote for the Import-Export Business site, which is now under The Balance brand.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Today in Global Small Business: The New World of Work

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

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Find Someone to Help You Paddle

©2016 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
"If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle." -- William H. McRaven

Friday, September 16, 2016

Getting Trust Back From New Zealand Small Business Owners

Ouch.  A glitch with global online payment company PayPal has hit a number of New Zealand small businesses in their wallets.

Here's what one small business owner says:
"A lot of people don't trust PayPal anymore. For me its not about screw-ups, technical screw-ups happen all the time, you can't get angry - it's just the society we live in. But it's the way the company has reacted and I don't think I've ever seen such a poor reaction from a massive company to its clients. We just don't feel like they care."
Read more:  Small businesses struggling after PayPal glitch

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Why Brexit Isn't the Biggest Concern for UK Small Business Owners

©iStock/Evgeny Gromov
In the UK, who are you going to call when business gets tough (and don't think Ghostbusters!)?  We're not talking about about anxiety caused by losing one big customer; rather, SMEs are more concerned with cash flow problems and tough competition from emerging markets.

According to C2FO Working Capital Outlook Survey 2016:
The majority of SMEs (55 per cent) find cash flow as the biggest obstacle for business growth and more than 40 per cent indicate an increase in working capital needs compared to last year. 
The survey examines the preferences of more than 1,800 SMEs in the UK, US, Germany, France and Italy for improving working capital efficiency, examining trends associated with economic and political factors, financing, working capital deployment and supplier-buyer relationships.

Read more:  Tough competition, alternative financing, higher interest rates

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Earphones Are Evolving Globally

Once thought of simply as an electrical device for listening to music without other people hearing, earphones are now becoming more sophisticated and multifunctional.
In fact, world-famous audio brand Bang & Olufsen and German audio equipment manufacturer Sennheiser have introduced top-of-the-line earphones priced up to 400 dollars.
Now enters a small but competitive business, IR International, making a difference for the Korean economy by becoming the maker of the world’s first dynamic 2-way earphones.

Read more:  Power of Small Businesses

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

8 Lessons for Successfully Launching a New Product or Service Globally

Alison Larson is an international business development consultant, founder of WorldBlazer Consulting LLC, and coach who works with fashion companies to launch, develop and/or dramatically improve their brand's presence and overall business in international markets around the world.

Prior to establishing her consulting business, Alison worked for 23 years in various executive positions at Carter's and OshKosh B'Gosh where she was responsible for global business development of the companies' various brands in over 40 developed and emerging markets.

She has spent her life traveling and working abroad and has lived in the USA, Italy, the UK and Belgium.  Alison has an MBA in International Business from NYU and Executive Certificates in Global Negotiations, Cross Cultural Communication and Managing Conflict with a Global Mindset from Thunderbird Global Business School.

If that is not enough, Alison is conversant in four languages and enjoys sailing, skiing, painting and creating jewelry in her spare time.

What's so cool about all this?  Alison is donating her valuable time and expertise to present a webinar for Women Entrepreneurs GROW Global on Wednesday, September 14th at 11:00 a.m. Central time. The title of her talk is:

"8 Critical Lessons To Ensure A Successful International Product Launch"

Here's what you will learn:
  • The type of research needed to identify your best target market 
  • How to select the right international partner the first time around 
  • The important role that relationships play in your international expansion efforts 
To learn more and to register, visit:

Event is no charge but you must register to attend.  See you there!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Today in Global Small Business: Remembering 9/11

©2016 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
What's affecting me, my clients, my colleagues and other global small business owners:

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Self-Portrait in the Sand

©2016 Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.
As Minor White would say, "All photographs are self-portraits." This is mine.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Facebook Allows Mom-And-Pop Stores to Reach Global Audience

Facebook's new tool is aimed at providing the tools to help mom-and-pop stores the chance to reach a much wider audience: global.
Businesses can use the new feature by going to Facebook's Lookalike Audiences tool, which recommended new audiences to business owners in their own countries but will now also offer information on international audiences.
This eliminates the need for SMEs to do exhaustive market research, making the step to go global a lot more efficient.

Read more:  Facebook wants to help businesses expand internationally

Thursday, September 08, 2016

The World Famous Global Small Business Forum Held in Chicago 10/21/16

The world famous Global Small Business Forum 2016 is OPEN for registration! The 2nd annual event will be held on Friday, October 21st at 70 West Madison Street in the heart of downtown Chicago.  This year’s theme is:  Make the World Your Business!  We have an unbelievable lineup of global business experts and business owners who will be sharing their secrets to international business success.  Here's a preview:
  • Richard Paullin, Executive Director, International Trade Association of Greater Chicago; Chairman, IL District Export Council
  • Kati Suominen, Founder and CEO, Nextrade Group, LLC
  • Marc Schulman, President, Eli’s Cheesecake Company
  • Mary Safie, President and Chief Executive Officer, Safie Specialty Foods Company
  • Chantal Wittman Meier, V.P., International Trade Banking, MB Financial
  • Peter Darley, Owner, VP & COO, W.S. Darley
  • Mike Howard, Managing Director for the Central Region of the Business Development Division of the Export-Import Bank
  • Frank Gogliotti, Project Engineer, Weldy-Lamont
  • Susan Meyer, Counsel for Nixon Peabody LLP
  • Philip Pittsford, Chair, National District Export Council
  • Dennis Foldenauer, Regional Manager, IL and WI, International Trade Finance Specialist U.S. SBA, International Trade, U.S. Export Assistance Center
  • Constantine Grapsas, CEO and Founder of Automated Industrial Machinery, Inc.
A BIG thanks to our Event sponsors:   CEI Importers, MB Financial, TradeUp Fund and Nixon Peabody.  Without their support, this program would not be possible.

For more information and to register, visit:  Students receive a special discount.  See you there!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

State Trade Expansion Program Helps Small Businesses Start or Expand Export Activities

The U.S. Small Business Administration remains committed to ensuring small firms in Colorado and across the U.S. have the tools and resources they need to take their business global.   In this example, they have awarded CO state $186,140 through its State Trade Expansion Program.  Launched in 2011, this program allows 56 U.S. entities to compete for federal matching-fund awards that help small businesses start or expand export activities.
With the help of STEP funds, Gold [Andrew Gold, president and founder of Aircraft Technical Book Co., a small business based in Tabernash, Colorado] attended a trade show in India and engaged online resources in search of new customers and partnerships. Today, the nine-person company is expanding to develop a new certification for aviation and aerospace avionics technicians in the U.S. and in Europe and in turn setting up ATBC to expand to serve a new untapped market.
Read more:  Program helps small firms export on a global scale

Meanwhile, contact the SBA to speak to an export finance manager about the counseling, training and financing opportunities available to help your mall business grow and compete across borders.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

World's Highest and Longest Glass Bridge Becomes Global Sensation

The glass-bottom suspension bridge in China is 430 meters (1,410 feet) and hovers above a valley with a drop of some 300 meters in Zhangjiajie.  It attracts thousands of visitors every day.
“We thought people would be afraid to walk on it, but today it’s simply unbelievable. I’ve never designed anything on which so many people go, as if they were zombies,” says Israeli architect Haim Dotan, about the world’s highest and longest glass bridge, in southern China’s Hunan Province.
Read more:  Israeli Designer of Glass Bridge Wanted Something People Wouldn't Notice, but Ended Up Creating Global Sensation

Monday, September 05, 2016

Today in Global Small Business: Americans Celebrate Labor Day

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

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Signs of Summer Ending

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Photos courtesy:  ©Laurel J. Delaney.  All rights reserved.  (Rogers Park, IL 2016.)

Friday, September 02, 2016

Local Snowboard Firm Goes Global

Snowboard firm Gilson Boards, known as Your American Snowboard Company, started three years ago with three people, manufacturing snowboards on a former dairy farm.
The company has since grown to 16 employees, who helped the company build and sell more than 1,000 boards this season from Gilson’s, a 5,000-square-foot facility near New Berlin. Sales have increased an average of 200 percent a year.
In 2015, the company started shipping overseas and now ships orders to:  Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Korea, England, France, Italy and Switzerland.  Overseas sales make up about 15 percent of the company’s business, according to the owner of the firm, Nick Gilson.

Read more:  Local firms go global

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Are Small Business Owners Convinced of the Benefits to Going Global?

Despite technology removing barriers to overseas expansion, it appears that SME owners in Australia and New Zealand are not yet convinced of the benefits. Recent data from Bentleys, an accounting and business advisory firm, found that only 19% of Australian and New Zealand businesses operated in overseas markets.

Why is that?  Are they risk-adverse?  Do they lack interest?  Are they underestimating the benefits to going global?

What's holding SMEs back?  What's needed to get them going in the global marketplace?

Find out all the answers here:  Australian SMEs Slow to Move Into Global Expansion