Global First. Local, Too.

by Doug Bruhnke

A “Local First” slogan makes sense for consumers when they’re buying, but it can be a disastrous approach when executives are looking for sales growth. Thinking too close to home has put the U.S. into the predicament of having less than 1 percent of companies export, while most countries around the world are much higher, like Sweden at 5 percent.

Having companies export goods and services brings money in from around the world, creating jobs and moderating the ups and downs of selling to one economy. Communities with globally-minded companies generate more tax revenue from exports and foreign direct investment to pay for roads, schools and infrastructure for a stronger future. 

Buying local products keeps money in the community, but it’s not enough. We need money here from tourists, investors and buyers of exported products to really thrive.

Arizona is below average for states in both exports and foreign direct investment. For instance, Phoenix is ranked 34th among metropolitan area in the U.S. (Brookings) for exports, and is losing ground. Salt Lake City exports 50 percent more than Phoenix with just one-fourth the population, and is gaining ground. When will more business leaders here take action?

The Global Chamber actively connects more companies and communities with global business opportunities, and increases their success when they do. It’s a tough job — because we’re programmed to embrace local, and shun global. 


When a factory in the U.S. closes, often the media claims it’s foreign competitors who are to blame. Yet when a U.S. company is hiring — like Able Aerospace in Mesa — does increasing exports get the credit? Hardly … but they should! Just ask Lee Benson. He and his team are unsung exporting heroes, creating hundreds of jobs in Arizona.

Imagine a world where entrepreneurs start out thinking how they can serve foreign markets instead of selling across the street for a while, and then thinking about global markets down the road. When companies put global first when selling, we’ll be in a better place and right where the Global Chamber aims us to be. Are you with us?

Doug Bruhnke is the CEO and founder of Global Chamber.®

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