Local or global? Bigger is Better
Even in the startup phase for a business, it very important to plan and to think of becoming global from the beginning and set yourself up from day 1 to grow into a global brand. It’s difficult think about being global when you haven’t even started and many people would say don’t plan for that focus on just being local first, but the problem with that is once you set your mind of being local it’s hard to transition out of that and into being global. There are many businesses that started and didn’t plan or think about the future and failed miserably because of this. Adapting and change are often very difficult things to execute, people don’t like change and that most often results in failure but change is crucial in business and it is one of the most important aspects of becoming a global brand.
The Internet has made it possible for nearly anyone to open a business selling products or services. There are so many channels where you can get involved and market your business, with Facebook ads and sites where you can easily post products or services for sale, it makes it very attractive for business owners. It has also broadened horizons by making news and business available from countries all over the world. The ability to obtain inexpensive administrative and manufacturing services from offshore companies is a boon for smaller companies unable to afford extra staff and equipment. It has also tempted many small companies to try to expand internationally.
Some of the specific advantages presented by successfully growing globally include:
New Revenue Potential.
The Ability to Help More People.
Greater Access to Talent.
Learning a New Culture.
Exposure to Foreign Investment Opportunities.
Improving Your Company’s Reputation.
Diversifying Company Markets.
Extending the sales life of existing products and services by finding new markets to sell them in.
Reducing your dependence on the markets you have developed in the country you started in.
Finally, by entering the global marketplace, you’ll learn how to compete against foreign companies.
You can offer a wider range of products globally than you may be able to offer locally. Even if you have some products that fail to sell well locally, you can look for new markets where it is in demand. When you are open globally, you have to dump unsold inventory for a loss.
There is less competition in the global marketplace than at home. You’ will have a chance to capture a larger market share. You may also have an advantage if your product is of a much higher quality that the local version.
When you market to several different countries, you are not vulnerable to any one trend or style. Your product may not be welcomed or liked in one country but in high demand in another. Also, if there is a huge natural disaster like a tsunami or hurricane in one place, it won’t totally disrupt your business because you have sales efforts in other places
But like everything in life there are pros and cons, just like going global has its benefits, it also has it downfalls. Such as, currency fluctuation can hurt your profits. The relative strength of the U.S. dollar against the currencies in other countries can make your products and services expensive or inexpensive.
Different countries have protection of your intellectual property are also in play. It helps to license your IP to a trusted overseas partner with the understanding that the partner must responsibly protect your company interests.
Shipping is another con of going global, international trade requires payment guarantees for orders, done through the use of bank letters-of-credit. You may also be faced with the disappointment of receiving shipping containers that have been damaged, looted or that contain merchandise not meeting your expectations.
Blockbuster is an excellent example of a business that was unable to adapt. This video-rental chain survived the transition from VHS to DVD just fine but failed to adapt to the next change. When technology started changing and the world was blessed with Netflix and streaming from the internet, blockbuster was unable to understand this change and their conventional retail outlets seemed hopelessly outdated. The firm is closing hundreds of stores and working off debt. This is what happens when you can’t keep up.
Another example is Budweiser, the beer company. The domestic beer sales started declining and they had to be bought out by an international company because they were unable to do this on their own.
Targets recent withdraw from the Canadian market showed us that even a successful business sometime battles to make it in a foreign market. To Target, its self-proclaimed “gift” to Canada probably felt very right but unfortunately after less than two years of billions of dollars lost and another five years to go before breaking even, Target announced that they were liquidating 133 stores and laying off more than 17,000 employees. People were shocked with what happened because Target is a huge business and even they had a hard time. Target isn’t the first company that saw great success at home but battled to get abroad.
Starbucks ended up with a big fail when it tried to push into Australia in 2000. Much like Target’s failed leap to the Canadian market, Starbucks went down under with similar mistakes. The problem here was that Starbucks proved to be too expensive. In 2008, they suddenly closed 61 stores and a reported $143 million loss. Starbucks kept the faith until 2014 when it handed over the remaining 24 shops to the Withers Group, which operates the 7-11 chain in Australia.
Kristen O’Connell’s thoughts on building a global brand
We are living in the information age and it’s easier than ever to get a product or service in front of a global audience due to Wi-Fi availability, technology, and consumer habits. However, maintaining our audience’s attention is more challenging than ever for the same reasons. The two keys to not only staying in business, but growing a global business are in solving an emotional problem and building genuine relationships.
How These Two Keys Helped O’Connell Build a Global Company:
The wholehearted truth behind why O’Connell started a business came out recently when a business coach got her to think on an emotional level about why she does what she does, that was never something she had never said out loud before; and saying it aloud was really eye opening for her, it was her admitting it to herself for the first time. O’Connell like many people out there, failed at her first attempt to start a business and closing it down made her feel like the biggest failure ever. She says she felt like she had let everyone that believed in her down, including herself. And she was also full of anger and resentment towards the people that were
meant to be her support system. She wasn’t in a good place, which is a common place for starting entrepreneurs to be in. But, instead of lingering in a world of self-pity and deceit, she picked herself up, chose a different path, and rebuilt her reputation knowing she never wanted to re-visit that painful place.
It has now been 10 years since O’Connell closed her first business down, and she says she hasn’t thought about that moment of failure in a long time, but when she realized the true reason she started her company, she also realized how instrumental that was to what she’s been able to achieve. O’Connell essentially built a business to support new entrepreneurs and prevent them from having to close their businesses and go through what she had to go through, she knows that pain and doesn’t want anyone else to ever feel that. She has been solving an emotional problem all along by preventing her clients from ever having to feel the way she felt. She is solving an emotional problem before it exists!
Relationships have been a big part of O’Connell company’s evolution from the start. She went from 1 client to 10 clients overnight because of the relationships and reputation she had already established in the industry. Her company has since grown year-on- year, retaining 97% of their clients, and operating through referrals only. In the past 9 years, they have helped over 215 companies in 75 cities- and every single one of them was recommended by an existing client! Client relationships aren’t the only ones that matter though, they also maintain exceptional relationships with all of their suppliers because they understand that without them, they can’t come through for their clients. They believe it’s important to be candid with suppliers, to be willing to compromise, and to also show true colors by joking and laughing together.
Why one starts a business is just as important as what is being done and who its being done with. A hobby can easily turn into a chore and friendships can easily sour if you’re not careful and only go into business to make money. It’s important that people are committed and passionate about what they’re doing in order to get though the tougher days.
O’Connell 9 Steps to Going from Employee to Global Business Owner:
Build relationships/ partnerships
Relationships are vital in business, making connections with people is one of the key aspects to growing.
Come up with a solution for a problem
Being able to solve problems quickly is a quality that most entrepreneurs need to have.
Learn to negotiate and to compromise
Mastering how to negotiate is a talent that most entrepreneurs carry, you need this in order to get on top
Listen to feedback and adjust accordingly
Feedback is something that most people cringe at the thought of because no one wants to hear negative things about their business but it’s crucial in order to learn and grow
Learn from both successes and failures
Having success is great and everyone wants that but learning and growing from failures is also important in business.
Become pro-active, not re-active to problems
Experiencing a problem is inevitable, you need to be proactive and fix them as soon as they arise
Build a team to compliment your weaknesses
You can’t have every good quality, you need to surround yourself with people that think differently from you to help you come up with the best ideas and get views from different perspectives
Incorporate other people’s goals into your own
Some people might have goals that you wouldn’t have thought about and once you see their goals, that could change your perspective on what your goals should be
Get coaching and objective advice
Coaching is probably the most important aspects in business, you can’t do it all and as much as people don’t want to admit it, we all need help to boost us in business. Sometimes having an outsiders view is crucial
8 Essential Tips for Building Relationships/ Partnerships:
- Assume the best from the start and focus on a positive outcome
- Ask questions to get to know the other person
- Be honest, clear and upfront about your intentions
- Be yourself- not who you think they want you to be
- Be willing to compromise and see the other’s point of view
- Establish boundaries
- Keep in mind that people only do business with people they like
- Do your homework on the person and try to impress them
O’Connell’s company, Superlative Recruitment specializes in Recruitment Advertising provides recruitment pipeline analysis and training events for recruiters. They help their clients hire more of the right people faster and cheaper than they would on their own or by using a traditional recruitment agency. O’Connell has had immense success with her business, in 8 years they have worked with 215 clients in 75 cities in 12 countries across 4 continents. She took that leap to become global and has never looked back, she planned and she knew exactly how to implement strategies.