Archive for November, 2008

Gutsy Global Entrepreneur


A friend and colleague of mine, Rebecca Herwick (who I have invited to contribute to this blog), runs Global Products, Inc., a woman-owned full-service, worldwide promotional marketing company. GPI provides more than 750 Harley-Davidson domestic dealers and 450 international dealers with products to sell to the public.

Rebecca is a dynamic and gutsy global entrepreneur marching to her own drum.  And she meets challenges head-on. Here’s what she faced when growing her business global:

As the company entered the international marketplace, the challenge was to implement and fine-tune the staffing, reporting methods and the IT infrastructure needed for international distribution. Going global meant overcoming such obstacles as language barriers with misunderstandings in communications, different office hours, limited supervision at the international locations, currency exchange and lack of historical data for setting inventory goals.

“To solve these global challenges, we learned to create in our minds ahead of time the perfect storm with the steps to prevent it. Never over-promise or under-deliver is our motto. We have learned to do our homework, move slowly and not expect immediate return on our investments,” explains Herwick.

Hopefully we will hear more from Rebecca via this blog on just how she built her company from scratch to more than a U.S. $15 million global empire. In the interim, read a short piece on her here.

Queen of Global Marketing


How do you stand out from the crowd, especially during such tough economic times? Take your cue from the queen of global marketing: Madonna.

Highly photogenic but not conventionally beautiful, she started out with a package of catchy dance-club pop tunes and crisp concert choreography, just like a thousand other acts. But she didn’t stop there. She exposed her navel, wore underwear as outerwear, took off her clothes for the camera, and made her private life very, very public. She teased her audience with hints and rumors of scandalous affairs: with the opposite sex, with the same sex, with movie stars and rock stars. She SHOCKED HER CUSTOMERS — and kept them coming back for more. Twenty-plus years after her debut, Madonna — sultry entertainer, movie diva and mother — continues to redefine herself.

She is the queen of creativity and a global marketing phenomenon.

What can we learn from Madonna and other women entrepreneurs who have taken their businesses global? Plenty. Here are six tips (sprinkled with a little boldness and creativity I might add) to make global customers notice you and your product or service offering, online or off.

Read more here.

Selling Japan: The 730-Day Wait


When I started my exporting company in the mid-eighties (now morphed into, it took me nearly two years to make my first sale in Japan (yes, I counted the days!). I started off with careful research to determine Japanese consumer needs. My associates at Mitsui’s Chicago branch were instrumental in helping me target my sales efforts. Working together, we learned about the growing consumer demand for fashionable Westernized food products that project an upscale image.

The demand for specialty foods remains steady throughout the year, in addition to the predictable surge during key holiday and gift-giving seasons. We also found that Japanese consumers are increasingly eager to sample new products that are clearly differentiated from existing market goods and that cater to a variety of tastes. They particularly like U.S. products such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s fast food, and Levi’s jeans because of the popular, with-it image those companies enjoy in the world market — and they are fascinated by prestige items that are hard for most people to obtain or afford. So we had excellent reason to believe that our products would do wonderfully in the Japanese marketplace. You, too, should keep these market factors in mind when you’re ready to offer your wares.

But it takes more than a promising product for an American to trade successfully in Japan. Most of us need to re-think everything we’ve learned about doing business. Before I set up my own business, I worked for a small manufacturing company with a committed export department. There I learned the basics of exporting, and had my first encounter with a Japanese businessman, Mr. Jiro Naito. I was very much impressed with his long-range perspective on business development. Jiro was gentle but relentless in his attention to detail, and sincerely dedicated to the cultivation of our business relationship (very similar to how I think women conduct business). Years later, we remained good friends until he passed away last year — and his lessons in global business culture are as vital as ever. From him I learned that Japan epitomizes the business style I have been emphasizing throughout my professional career.

Here in America, profits are the name of the game. All too often, our objective is to lure a customer and sell them anything we can as fast as we can. Our motto seems to be here today, gone tomorrow. The Japanese, by contrast, view their business partnerships as here today and here forever. Japan isn’t the place for overnight success — sales and profits will happen only much further down the road, perhaps even years later. When you set out to make business contacts in Japan, you must think of it as cultivating a garden: in time and after much care, good things will begin to grow.

Celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week


More than 75 countries around the world are launching the first ever Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), November 17-23, 2008.

The brainchild of the Kauffman Foundation, Global Entrepreneurship Week is an international initiative designed to inspire, inform, mentor, connect and engage entrepreneurs and to encourage them to “unleash” their ideas and solutions on a global, connected marketplace.

Let’s celebrate by joining the discussions, especially The Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (November 19) and spreading the good global word.

5 Reasons Women Are Naturals At Going Global


We wrote about this a couple of years ago as the Global Markets Advisor for Women Entrepreneurs Inc. but the information is just as relevant and timely for today. Here are five reasons why women are naturals at going global and how absolutely indispensable we are in international business:

1. We are more attentive and supportive toward others.
2. We study people, “read” their behavior and make judgments.
3. We have enormous patience and capacity for forgiveness.
4. It’s always been our job to know about etiquette and appropriate social behavior.
5. We are raised to be charming and pleasant to be around.

Do you see yourself above? Are you always pushing limits, shaking things up, competing vigorously in the world marketplace, and making the world a better place to live? We hope so. Because if you have these traits and characteristics, you are ready for the global marketplace.

Read more at 5 Reasons Women Are Naturals At Going Global.

Women Rule the World


Former White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers has a new book, Why Women Should Rule the World, which is oh-so appropriate for this blog. The Atlantic online covers it provocatively in Sandra Tsing-Loh’s article Should Women Rule?

And a special hat tip to our friends and colleagues over at the Small Business Labs for turning us on to both the redesign at the Atlantic magazine and Dee Dee’s new book.

Pictured:  Mother Teresa

Women Entrepreneurs Get Global Help


Goldman Sachs, gets it, at least on how important it is for companies to help women entrepreneurs expand their businesses globally. In a research report earlier this year, Goldman estimated the following:

That improving female education in the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and 11 other developing countries could boost per-capita income by as much as 14% over baseline projections by 2020.

Earlier this year, Goldman announced it would earmark $100 million to train female entrepreneurs in developing nations through dozens of short-term certificate programs in business and management education to be offered around the globe. The first “class” of 23 small-business owners just completed studies at the Pan-African University in Lagos a few weeks ago.

We all know that global women entrepreneurs spur economic growth. Read more about it here.

Welcome to WEGG!


Welcome to Women Entrepreneurs Grow Global (WEGG), a social enterprise dedicated to revolutionizing how women entrepreneurs take their businesses global.

Expect over the course of the next decade that WEGG will help transition tens of millions of women business owners from local to global.

What’s the first thing you should do to prepare yourself and your business for international expansion? Develop the right mindset. Sure it takes guts, fortitude and all sorts of other special qualities to expand a business internationally but more important than anything else, you must start thinking about how you are going to build a global empire before you actually do it.

Let’s start the journey now … together … are you ready?

wegg® Mission

Our mission is to educate, inspire and nurture women business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide on how to go global so they can run healthier businesses and create a new future for themselves, their families and their community.

Women Entrepreneurs GROW Global is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. EIN/Tax ID #47-2956522.

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