The Key Factors of Global Business

It has been a global marketplace since forever, all you needed was the vision, guts, and usually a fair bit of seed money to extend the reach of your business beyond your own borders.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article | The Key Factors of Global Business

As the internet and access to the internet are reaching a point where it’s considered a commodity, the latter two elements (guts and seed money) are becoming less and less inhibiting factors to running a global business. In fact, the rise of As A Service offerings in the market means you can build a business empire from the comfort of your home, sort of speak.

What still is needed, however, is a vision on how you will reach global domination. Here are a few key areas to think about.

Global Audience

With a product offering or service in mind, you will need to think of where your potential customers are. There is usually always a base need that can be fulfilled, but in different countries, and therefore, different cultures, the ‘how’ element of how this base need should be fulfilled can be different.

Let’s say you have a service that is completely internet-based, and consumers access it via a web browser. Say you have built it entirely on desktop resolution, and it’s flying in your home country. You identify a need for your product in India, for example, and after launch, you find less than stellar performance. This could be down to the fact that Indian people don’t have desktops but rather consume the internet (and products) via mobile devices. There is also language and tone of voice that can make a massive difference.

Global Infrastructure

Next to your consumer base, you will have to think of varying rules and regulations that might be in place locally. If you provide a physical product, for example, you will need to take into account cooldown periods and typical returns behavior.

Germany is well known for its protective legislation geared towards consumers. Most companies that conduct business in Germany experience higher returns rates that need to be considered in the company’s infrastructure. Another thing to consider is your financial infrastructure for dealing with income, tax payments, and dealing with suppliers. Find international money transfer options that keep transactional costs down and deliver speed in delivery.

Global Colleagues

And although plenty can be done with outsourced capability, it being suppliers or as a service 3rd parties, at one point expansion will come with an international workforce. Being successful here means being able to manage people from different backgrounds and cultures. There are libraries full of books that can explain the finer differences between a Japanese and a French person. That’s not to say you need to go read all these books, but a cursory knowledge of what to do and, more importantly, what not to do goes a long way in people management.

Where a Japanese colleague will not tell you something but will drop hints, a Dutch person will usually tell you something directly. Taking these things into consideration means you can communicate more effectively and therefore build your global business bigger and better than ever before.

Going Global Is Easier Than Ever: Don’t Get Left Behind

Unlike mere decades ago, knowing what is happening in a different country nowadays is basically common knowledge. Before, we only had the mass media to trust, that is of course unless you used to travel the world yourself. Now information is so readily available that it is almost unthinkable that someone would not know all the major news in both neighbouring countries, and even from places on the other side of the world. Globalisation has most definitely taken hold of the planet, and the English language is at the forefront of international communication. This is partly due to flying and generally travelling abroad being easier than ever for the average person, but the main catalyst of this whole situation is most probably the internet. The internet has basically put the whole world in everyone’s pocket at this point, with the introduction of the iPhone as well as the later coming smartphones in 2007, and things have only escalated since then. But this development on a global scale does not end at personal electronics, the business world was taken by storm in the past two or so decades, allowing for much easier and more convenient international business opportunities. Let’s look at why now, is a better time than ever to run a  business on a global scale, than ever before.

Hire globally

Despite how useful having a core local team at the office may be, it is sometimes not enough to carry out international affairs on a regular basis. After all, what’s easier? Having someone travelling every other day to run errands in other countries, or having someone on location already who can attend or deal with something in your or your employee’s stead? The answer is rather clear, and we are currently at a time where hiring globally is easier than ever. Whether you’re looking for a team to run a global project, or just need someone who can attend delegations for you, it’s as simple as putting up a job offer online nowadays.

Make use of existing international businesses

No matter what your business may be, you are probably not going to be doing literally everything that needs to be done alone, nobody does. Everybody outsources some kind of work out to another company, and that’s perfectly fine. Considering the globalised nature of most markets, you can use that to your advantage and even get to know markets alien to you with companies such as leelinesourcing fba sourcing services in China. Companies who already know their local market are willing to provide their expertise to your company, providing your with the right suppliers, the appropriate pricing which allows you to stay competitive, and a plethora of other services which can only really be provided by people in the know-how. Sometimes something as simple as getting someone to make sure you deal with companies who won’t scam you can prove more than invaluable.

Reaching bigger audiences

As a business, the chances are that you would like to reach the largest possible audience who would potentially buy your product or use your services, understandably so. Keep in mind that other than bragging rights, going global allows you to be in a situation where you won’t have all your eggs in one basket. Sometimes the market just is not doing too well, be it due to the time of year, or perhaps there is a bit of a recession going on making your existing target market not too likely to buy a lot during this time. Maybe it’s just one of those unexplainable times where nobody orders anything for some reason for days on end. If you deal with more than one country as a potential target market, you will have much less downtime as a company, or maybe even no downtime at all.

Potential payout – Downsides

With easy shipping to different countries, relatively quick deliveries abroad, and people doing their shopping online from just about everywhere in the world, not going global to at least some extent is foolish. Like with anything, there are downsides to going international or even global, having to deal with different safety standards, different licensing fees, language barriers and so on and so forth, but with the potential profitable outcome, they seem minute. One major problem that both companies and their customers have to deal with is the shipping or delivery costs. Keep in mind that it is usually cheaper to rent out some storage space abroad in a different country which you can then send off an appropriate amount of stock to in bulk, making the whole ordeal much cheaper. From there you can easily supply all the local customers without any strenuous delivery fees, making your products much more appealing to the general public.

Tips for Conducting Business Across Continents

StrategyDriven Business Communications ArticleceIf you’re looking to conduct cross-continent business, know that you can, but the task is not easy. Managing one location has it’s own challenges like keeping up with all of your departments including Human Resources, sales, marketing and the like. Now, think about doing that, but all over the world where there are different time zones, cultures and expectations. Those of you that already run a multi-location enterprise know how difficult this can be. Again, it might not be simple, but with the right frame of mind and the best practices in place, you’ll be able to grow and strengthen your cross-continental presence and allow your business to truly thrive. The following are some tips that will enable you to conduct your global business successfully.

Create relationships and ask for help

Whether you have an established global business or are looking to expand to new markets, you don’t have the advantage of being everywhere at once to meet and connect with your teams and customers. You’ll have to work hard to maintain your relationships, so you should be setting up regular calls to access the tone and satisfaction of those employees at the location. You can even go the extra mile by making sure you’re present for important events at different global offices or utilize video calls for a more in-person feel. You should also be leveraging your connections in the various continents you’re looking to grow in. If you’re looking to expand in a location where the native language is not in your skillset, have a contact or service in place in order to spread awareness about your products and services.

Stay connected with the cloud

The best advice I can give you is to keep your global business connected. With the development of modern business management solutions, it is easier than ever to stay connected with your teams all over the world. The right software will unite your workforce whether they are in finance, distribution or manufacturing so that everyone is up-to-date on all processes. It will allow employees to access data anywhere, at any time making their working hours match up with yours regardless of time zone. With cloud implementation you’ll be able to go wherever your business takes you by accessing it from different technologies, too. You’ll be able to give the right people the information they need in real time in order to spot anomalies and correct any discrepancies.

Do global business but act local

Conducting global business requires businesses to act like a local. Customs, traditions, and legal compliance vary across geographies. Be aware of the legal compliance needs and requirements in the locations you are conducting business in so you are able to continue doing business legally. By learning the area’s customs and traditions, you are able to relate with locals better and establish a positive reputation.

Communicate often and clearly

We all know that communication is key, but are you taking that to heart when it comes to conducting business across continents? Take a minute to think about how often you have a conversation with your various teams and the way in which those discussions are orchestrated. Can it be improved? The business management solution I suggested should also allow you to cultivate and maintain productive communications with your global business. Another crucial part of your conversation is being able to use the right language. Barriers in language are detrimental to your productivity and waste time, so it is important to be succinct so your employees and customers can understand you. This is where language localisation will be a must for your cloud-based solution. Not only will you be able to clearly communicate with your team, but you’ll also be able to better service your international customers by avoiding miscommunications from suppliers or partners. Being able to clearly communicate strategy to your workforce in all markets will aid your strategic confidence and your business’ ability to stretch.

Remain flexible for growth

As a global business, the ability to maintain control over efficiencies—especially in terms of importing and exporting goods—is a must. You can increase your sales by utilizing an interface that is intuitive regardless of language or device, and is flexible enough to track and make adjustments on the spot. The market in one of your locations can change at any moment, and you’ll want to be agile enough to adapt and change with it. This is where keeping an open dialogue with your location will help, as well, because you’ll be aware of any structural changes you need to make. It’s essential that your global employees have mobile capabilities, and staying connected with cloud-based business management solutions can give you the flexibility you need to move forward.

Expanding to new markets and managing your global business is in your forte. For you business leaders who currently conduct business across continents, you know the unique perspective you gain by maintaining a presence around the world. As long as you create strong relationships, stay connected, communicate frequently, and remain flexible for growth, you’ll have everything you need to take control of your cross-continental business.

About the Author

Benoit GruberBenoît Gruber joined Sage in 2008 and is the Vice President of Corporate Communication for Sage Enterprise Market and Sage X3. He is responsible for Product Management & Marketing for Sage X3 globally, and is in charge of ensuring that the Operating Company (OpCo) teams are aligned behind the product strategy. He also serves as the Sage X3 solution expert in relationships with thought leaders, analysts and press. Prior to working at Sage, Benoît worked at SAP (from 2000-2008), where he held a variety of marketing and product management positions before becoming Sr. Industry Principle (Product & Business Development). He was a member of the EMEA Manufacturing Industries Business Group. Prior to working at SAP, Benoît worked for management consulting and technology services companies dedicated to ERP, Business Intelligence and new technologies. Benoît has also owned a company in the Media and Publishing sectors.