Doubling in a Downturn

In a struggling economy you may conclude that you do not have the resources available to facilitate international expansion. I argue that it is crucial to explore global ventures, even more so in an economic downturn. Small businesses across the United States are also starting to embrace this idea.  According to a recent report by the Institute for the Future think tank, half of U.S. small businesses will be involved in global trade by 2018. To provide some perspective, American users now represent only 15% of all internet business as stated by Eric J. Gerritsen of Global Internet Advisors.

The Women Presidents’ Organization expanded internationally beginning in 2001 with chapters in Canada, then Peru and most recently in the UK. This growth has not only added diverse perspectives but also depth to the organization and global views for the WPO. It is crucial for North American women entrepreneurs to be conscious of the differences in cultures and business practices when going global.Sue Stockdale, United Kingdom entrepreneur and president of Mission Possible Ltd and London facilitator for the WPO states “whilst it might seem like a difficult path to tread, for me there tends to be more similarities than difference in cultures, and having the ability to quickly learn and adapt can help you to ensure success when doing business internationally.”

What advantages would a women led business have?

Laurel Delaney, president and founder of, a consulting and marketing solutions company for entrepreneurs seeking international expansion, ensures that women have an advantage in the global market. “Women have developed an instinct for taking accurate readings in a hurry and acting accordingly. Trust that instinct. Where language and cultural barriers hinder communications, it may be all you have. The more women who enter the global arena and make it their own, the better their chance of success.”


Going global is a challenge that will prove to be well worth the effort. It will increase the size, profits and scope of your business and enlighten you on other business dimensions. See it as a challenge that will not only develop your business, but will also develop you as an entrepreneur. Diversified markets may be the key to the continued growth of your enterprise as these WPO members have illustrated.

Read more of this story in Enterprising Women Magazine!

Posted by: Marsha Firestone, Ph.D.

President and Founder

Women Presidents’ Organization

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