5Q: Michael Marquardt, global adviser
It seems as if the global marketplace has caught the interest of a lot of Delaware innovators and entrepreneurs. How have small businesses evolved when it comes to seeking international opportunities?
Small businesses are taking advantage of social media platforms to seek international opportunities. Inherently Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn have no limits on their reach and borders. Through the State’s Global Delaware initiative, small businesses are more effectively educated on how to do business and seek customers outside of the United States. Through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade and Export Promotion Grant Program, Global Delaware has applied for and received several federal grants to leverage state efforts to help small businesses expand internationally.
It seems counterintuitive that a small business could adequately compete in a global market. Why is it a viable opportunity?
American expertise is highly valued around the world. A small business based in Delaware often offers projects and services superior to what is available in other countries. So size doesn’t necessarily hinder small businesses opportunities. In fact, Delaware’s small size is an advantage. Our world has become a global marketplace, and a small company can go viral on the Internet and start selling things around the world.
What are the reasons small to mid-size companies are going global, particularly exporting?
Small to midsized companies are going global to grow revenue and to expand where the vast majority of people live in this world. Delaware has nearly 800,000 people. The U.S. has over 300 million. The rest of the world has an additional seven billion potential customers, many of whom are eager for American goods and services, including from Delaware-based corporations.
What are some of the challenges and pitfalls for small to midsize businesses ready to grow their business abroad?
“¢ Misunderstanding the customer or
“¢ Thinking the rest of the world works the same way as the U.S.A. in terms of the culture and legal and regulatory environment
“¢ Not understanding corruption issues in foreign countries
One example? Never use the number four in China because four pronounced in Mandarin sounds like the Chinese word for death. Never present a business case to a Chinese audience that lists the top four reasons to do business with a U.S. company – either list three or five.
What basic strategies need to be in place when considering global markets?
Basic strategies when considering global markets include assessing whether there is a true need for the goods or services in that market. A company also should assess the legal and regulatory landscape for that product or service. Special attention should be paid if you are seeking a local partner to make sure goals and objectives are closely aligned. Err on the side of more due diligence and seeking advice of someone who knows how to do business in that country.