“Globalization” and “international expansion” are buzz words that aren’t going away anytime soon. Large corporations are expanding their international operations pretty much on a daily basis, and increasingly, this trend will extend to the small businesses world.
In many ways, technology has finally leveled the playing field for small businesses. Up until now, these businesses didn’t have access to affordable technology to help them manage and run their business more efficiently. Now, thanks to the cloud, this type of technology is available and will allow them to not only flourish domestically, but also internationally. It’s the combination of technology (specifically the cloud), planning smartly and tapping partners that will ultimately enable these businesses to successfully expand across borders.
So, how many small businesses are actually taking advantage of technology and expanding globally? Right now, very few, according to a recent survey we conducted. Only one in three small business owners we surveyed are offering their services and products internationally. Despite this, the top two priorities for those same small businesses are “revenue growth” (75 percent) and “attracting new customers” (64 percent) – both of which can be addressed by entering into new markets.
Don’t get us wrong — as US small business evangelists, we embrace “Made in the USA” wholeheartedly. However, “Made in the USA” doesn’t have to mean just selling in the U.S., because for many, that’s a severe barrier to growth. I would argue that one of the best ways to make “Made in the USA” mean something again is for companies to sell their products internationally, while also continuing to focus on growth at home. While this may seem like a time-consuming, juggling act, with business software – which drastically simplifies and integrates business and financial processes – it’s easier than ever before.
Admittedly, not every small business has the ability to go global and succeed, and we understand how daunting the process may seem. However, by using business technology in the cloud and leveraging strategic partners who know what it takes to succeed internationally, small businesses can put themselves on the right track. As our 39th President Jimmy Carter always said, “Go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.”
As a small business owner, are you planning on expanding internationally in the next year? 5 years? 10 years? If not, what’s stopping you? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
For a free 30 day trial of our cloud-based business software designed for small manufacturers and wholesalers, please visit http://www.exactonline.com/pricing/trial.
Steve Leavitt, GM of U.S. Cloud Solutions for Exact