Archive for the 'Strategy' Category

Factors to Consider When Growing Your Business Global

Becca Berkenstadt, marketing intern at DePaul University, Coleman Entrepreneurship Center, shares her knowledge about international business dealings.  She addresses cultural, political, economic, societal and demographic questions you should ask before you go global.

Factors to Consider When Expanding Your Company Internationally

Find Becca on Twitter.

Related article, “20 Factors to Consider Before Going Global.

Posted by:  Laurel Delaney

How The Mighty Woman Entrepreneur Succeeds Globally

Faster than a speeding bullet. Energetic, enthusiastic, adaptable, flexible, accessible, decisive, nimble, innovative, responsive — in other words, you are pretty mighty already, right?

But all things considered, are you strong enough to continue driving your business results to the next level (globally)?

Here are six super tips that I wrote under the sponsorship of Verio to update your business and help you become leaner, stronger and poised for greater growth in coming years.

How the Mighty Succeed Globally

Posted by:  Laurel Delaney

Clues to the Rules for Credit

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Securing credit can be a headache for a small business owner, especially when she is trying to make her business global.  With payments lagging in a recessionary economy and exchange rates in constant flux, small business owners need to smooth out cash flow with credit lines and loans. For those eyeing opportunity, credit can also be the key to strategic expansion or repositioning in this changing economy.

Earlier this year, Digital Insight and Emergent Research held a roundtable on small business credit to identify just where small businesses could turn for credit.  The attendees concluded that credit unions and community banks are among the most committed to small business lending.  Yet, as the roundtable report indicates, the standards of those lenders are high, and lending depends on a solid financial story from those seeking loans.

So what makes your story stand out from all others?

At last week’s Intuit Town Hall Tweet Chat on Small Business Credit (#intuitth), experts in small business lending discussed this issue. The advice from the session maps a solid path for credit applicants and was consistent with the roundtable research.

To secure lines of credit or loans, you must first establish a personal relationship with your banker. Building confidence and commitment by investing in that relationship can make or break a deal.

Second, be armed with well-organized, comprehensive financial data.  Prepare more than you expect to need, just in case that extra question gets asked.

Lastly — and most important — know the story behind your numbers.  Be able to breathe life into your business plan, depict your customers in detail, show your industry expertise and be an authority on the region and culture in which you operate.

In a credit-tight market, your knowledge of your business and your market makes a difference in how one views your credit risk.   Tell your story to the lenders evaluating your loan request.  If you do not paint your own profile, the banks will do it for you…and they’ll do it without knowing who you and your business really are.

Posted by:  Carolyn Ockels

Global Digital Strategy; Got One?

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Today I participated in a live small business online forum (my second one) hosted by Bank of America and labeled as “Cost Effective Strategies to Go Global.”  Here is a sampling of the questions I addressed:

  • How do you leverage social media and networking platforms to grow a business globally?
  • What’s the most effective way to hire and maintain (nurture) independent contractors worldwide while building a global empire during a tough economic time?
  • Is Twitter important? Can it help reach a global audience? If so, what should you be doing to tap into it?
  • What are some key elements involved to run a fit-for-fast-growth type of global small business?
  • Where do you turn to find out if an overseas market is ripe for your type of product or service offering?

Find out my answers here.  And feel free to share your experience via this blog!

Posted by:  Laurel Delaney

10 Tips From Leading Women Entrepreneurs To Help You Make The World Your Business

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Meet the bold, the fearless and the restless (and that includes YOU!). Women-owned firms comprise forty percent of all firms in the United States, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research. They have implemented imaginative strategies to launch and expand their businesses, including going global.

Here’s a glimpse at the top ten tips shared by the women entrepreneurs who run successful worldwide ventures.

1. Develop trust on a global scale.

2. Think globally.

3. Build a global brand that works locally.

4. Educate your customers.

5. Outsource to grow your business.

6. Connect and collaborate with local markets on foreign ground.

7. Find cross-border customers.

8. Hire the best from around the world.

9. Establish payment methods before you sell.

10. Navigate through – not around – bureaucracy and red tape.

Global entrepreneurship, particularly by women, is diverse and pervasive worldwide. To succeed worldwide, companies must use best practices such as the above (refer to links below to read entire article), present something new, be the best at something, and offer it everywhere with the heart and will to succeed. You can make the world your business.

This is a two-part series published in Wealth Magazine. You won’t want to miss it. Read Part One and Part Two.

Quick access to the entire article can be found here.

Posted by: Laurel Delaney

How Can You Get Customers Overseas?

wegg1Global business is now a part of our daily conversations. Yet when I think about the entrepreneurs I know (in the U.S.), I’m astonished at how few of them actually do any business across borders. And the few I do know tend to focus on outsourcing or overseas production – the expense side, if you will.

I can probably count on one hand the number that go global in search of revenues.

While I have a couple theories on why that may be (I’ll save that for another day), it got me thinking…how can an entrepreneur or business owner prospect for global customers? What are some low-budget methods to source new business? How can one lower the barriers of language and cultural differences to reach people in foreign countries? How can technology be used to save on hard costs like travel, and soft costs like learning curve, in order to get to know the marketplace?

In thinking about those questions, I came up with some ideas. I’d love to hear your feedback on these, and other ideas that you have, either through experience or through simple brainstorming.

  1. Use existing customers as “listening posts” and advocates. If you already have any customers abroad, contact them and try holding personal conversations via Skype or email. Ask them how to get more customers in their region/country, and if they will help you with the process (perhaps even give them an incentive). Find out what distribution channels are used in their region
  2. Find your competitors’ customers. Google your product/service in specific countries to see who the main competitors are. On their web sites, look for customer testimonials, case studies, etc. to identify prospective buyers of your product/service.
  3. Search for a local trade association. These organizations are in existence to promote and serve their particular industries, and will often go out of their way to help companies grow. They may have marketing opportunities, access to buyer lists/groups, and networking contacts.
  4. Use eBay, Facebook, and other social networking sites used in that region. The former is better to sell product, and the others are better for services. Not only can you use conventional listings or ads, but on Facebook you can also set up your own group/company account.
  5. Post videos on YouTube to explain your company’s products/services or for “how-to” processes. Videos can help build trust among people who don’t know you, demonstrate your expertise, and put a friendly face on your company.
  6. If you’re a B2B firm, ask current customers for referrals to overseas business units. Explain to your domestic customers that you are interested in pursuing global customers and if they have contacts in the company’s offices around the globe.
  7. If your product is purchased as a gift, offer overseas shipping. Sounds like a no-brainer, but I’m still surprised at how many e-commerce sites will state that they only deliver to nearby countries. Yes, there are customs issues and higher shipping costs to deal with, but when it comes to gifts (when people often buy on emotion, not to fill a need), customers may not mind paying extra.

I would love to hear about other sales and marketing tactics to cultivate business overseas. What experiences have you had that either worked or didn’t? What ideas do you have that other entrepreneurs might want to consider?

Either comment here or email me at rchadha [at] depaul [dot] edu.

Posted by Raman Chadha – Coleman Entrepreneurship Center, DePaul University

Launching a Business in a Tailspin Economy

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With the economy in a slump, new business can be risky business.  Yet in spite of the uncertainty, many women feel cautiously optimistic about their business opportunities.  About 58 percent of women business owners polled in the  October 2008 Business Risk Survey expect revenues to grow in 2009.

What can be done to minimize risk in a down economy?

Karin Abarbanel, co-author of Birthing the Elephant, a new guide for women launching a business, stated in a recent interview:

“Businesses fail in a thriving economy, and businesses succeed in a down economy…The real key to beating the odds, which are daunting whether the economy is up or down, is a lean launch strategy that allows you to proceed economically and substitute brains for bucks.” 

If you want to launch a business in a tailspin economy, make sure you define your niche clearly and keep these things in mind:

1. In a down economy, customers become more discriminating and only buy products which meet their needs spot-on.  Businesses that provide exactly what customers want when they want it will hold market share throughout a downturn.

2. A lean launch is key.   To meet customer needs with minimal capital investment, small businesses are increasingly moving to a variable cost business model which means less up-front capital to get started.  Outsourcing, cooperative worksites, contract manufacturers, cloud computing, and infrastructure servicing companies like FEDEX allow small businesses to design, produce and deliver products on a variable cost basis, with little or no fixed cost investment. This lowers the bar for market entry and reduces the financial risk of starting a new business.

3. The Internet enables customers and niche providers of goods and services to find each other.  Use the web and think findability:  how can your customers find you and your niche products?  Expand your online presence beyond your company website and make it easy for customers to buy what you sell.

Posted by:  Carolyn Ockels

Think Mobile for Global Markets

Want to do business globally? Think mobile.

Around the world, mobile phones are becoming the primary tool for communication, and that includes wireless messaging, commerce, banking and advertising.

By the end of October 2008, India alone had 326 million users of mobile phones, almost 10 times the installation base of its landlines. Even more importantly, mobile phone penetration continues to grow by over 10 million units per month, while landlines are on the decline.

In South Africa, the Financial Times reports that nine out of 10 South Africans own a mobile phone, even though only half the country has bank accounts. Companies like Wizzit see the opportunity to grow banking and commerce through the mobile and are actively building the mobile banking sector. Key quote:

The power that is embedded in a cell phone makes it an obvious choice as a channel to get to the market.

Increasingly, customer contacts, financial transactions, and operations monitoring tools depend on mobile links spanning the globe. Anticipate customer access via the mobile, and design your business accordingly. You will reach a broader market more effectively.

Posted by:  Carolyn Ockels


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Our mission is to educate 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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