In many countries, including the U.S., less than 1 percent of executives are involved with international business. And yet most people and opportunity are somewhere else. Is it so shocking that we want to do business with our neighbor across the street instead of our neighbor across the world?
One of the real barriers to growing across the world is finding more customers, distributors, agents and partners whom you know, like and trust. Selling across the street is a lot easier. Talk to your local friends, find some folks to speak with, have a coffee with them, and do business. Easy!
That’s not scalable across the country and world. Or is it? You’ll need a network of people you know, like and trust across the borders where you wish to expand business. That’s actually easier than you may think, if you approach it logically and methodically. For a small and medium-sized business, it can be challenging and sub-optimized without spreading a wide net. And so we’re always looking for ways to grow the net.
Here are some thoughts to help you think through your growth.
1) Kevin Bacon. You may not know Kevin Bacon, but you know someone who knows someone who …, well, you know the drill. This can be hard work, but it’s doable — to get to the people you need to know through people you know. The key is to grow your company’s network and then have a process to work it.
2) LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn — create a complete profile with picture, profile information, company page and connections to the world. I’ve heard every excuse in the world for not being involved, and if you don’t want to grow business, or have a limited scope, you are excused. But everyone else, get it done.
3) Web Presence. There are always ways to upgrade being found with the right messaging. If you need help, some members of Global Chamber can help you find the “google juice” to survive and thrive online and around the world. Today’s technology allows you to be found from anywhere, and sell to everywhere.
4) Professional Networks. Connect with networks that increase your reach to whomever you’re looking for. For expansion to metro areas outside your home base, Global Chamber® is an ideal network for reaching customers and partners because we’re focused on growing business across every border.
5) Global Tribe. Nearly every company we’ve ever seen is doing global business sub-optimally. That’s a wake-up call to every company to fill in the gaps on why they’re not having more success. Jump over gaps in a single bound with a better village, and extend your village to metros across the world to find more customers.
Going global doesn’t have to be complicated. Put together a good plan; connect to the world through people you know, like and trust; and execute to get it done. Reach out your arms, and the opportunity will be in yours.
Doug Bruhnke is the Executive Director at Global Chamber® Phoenix