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Trade Routes: There Be Dragons!

By: Michael Wynne
Posted: June 9, 2008, from the June 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

Back to the June issue.

The top Fortune 500 companies derive more than 50% of revenues from foreign markets. That fact alone should encourage small- to medium-size companies to follow their example. Experience has shown that if your products and services sell in U.S. markets, they will probably be attractive to consumers abroad. You may have to make some changes, but the payback may well be worth the investment.

In the global market, however, not all is sweetness and light. The warnings that ancient cartographers put on their maps may still be valid. “There Be Dragons!” these maps warned about areas of the world of which little was known.

Of course, no such place exists any longer, not even in the business world. The advent and proliferation of the Internet has made limitless the information available; however, some of the most important information is not found on the Internet or in print resources.

Rarely do you run across articles that point out dishonest business practices around the world. There are infinite numbers of scams, but how often do we hear about them except from people who have been burnt? And most of those who have are reluctant to confess their ignorance, naiveté or foolishness. How often do we read about business owners who have cheated their partners, customers, suppliers, investors and even their own employees? Yet it happens every day, everywhere.