Going global from Day 1
I recently just got back from a conference in Budapest. One of the speakers was Csaba Faix from Prezi ( they have created excellent, innovative presentation software that matches the way the brain works). He talked about how the 3-man team there had set their minds on going global from the very start. From a standing start in 2009, they now (2016) have over 60 million users around the world – even though the user interface is only available in 9 languages. What made the difference? Being focused on the global potential from the very start rather than only looking at the limited market in their home country of Hungary. This is just one example of the growing phenomenon of micro-multinationals.
It used to be the case that companies were founded with a clear local focus; the founders would work hard to establish and build the company in one locality or country whilst ignoring the existence of potential customers further afield. But with the arrival of the internet and the information society, the world really is the entrepreneur’s oyster and there are no limits to where we can do business. However, this involves above all a change in mind-set and focus.
But they aren’t in Britain!
You may think there is no chance that you could ever serve international customers, or that your particular business is unsuited to anything but purely local customers. However, it is also important to know that Britain is very multicultural these days and you may find yourself with “international” customers who actually live locally. The opportunities this opens up are unlimited since if people get a taste for your particular product or service, they could easily refer you on to people from their community in the UK and their home countries too.
Selling abroad could be as simple as having an online shop on ebay or Amazon and resolving the challenges of sending products around the world. So according to ebay (Micro-Multinationals, Global consumers, and the WTO ) 98% of French commercial sellers are exporting and Australian commercial sellers on average reach 28 markets; even 81% of US commercial sellers sell to five or more foreign countries. Such marketplaces really open up the possibility of global sales. The UKTI e-exporting programme provides access to such e-commerce marketplaces around the world at preferential rates.
There are some key challenges facing micro-multinationals and SMEs; these include:
- The complexity of customs charges and procedures around the world
- Finding low-cost yet reliable cross-border delivery services
- Handling returns and
- Offering local payment options
If, on the other hand, you are offering such digital services as website creation, social media management or content creation, the problems stated above do not apply as no physical products are transported. What’s to stop you offering your services to companies around the world? How can potential customers find you? By addressing international companies in the languages they prefer to use, you lower the barriers for them to do business with you and stand out from the crowd.
As a member of the UKTI e-commerce business network, we at Linguagloss can help you solve all of these issues and grow your company through selling internationally.
Companies that have taken the plunge have realised these benefits – and others:
So what are they key barriers to micro-businesses and SMEs doing business globally? In 2016, most of them are found in the mind.