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Trade Routes: Learning to Swim in the Global Market

By: Michael Wynne
Posted: October 13, 2008, from the March 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Are you starving for business growth in the midst of plenty? Today, the biggest fish tank of them all is the global market. It is virtually without limit, filled with opportunities swimming around waiting to be gobbled up. The question is: “Gobbled up by whom?”

Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying: “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left behind by those who hustle.” Time continues to prove him right. If your company has an exceptional product or service, sooner or later it will become known beyond the domestic market. In time, you are bound to receive inquiries from potential buyers in other countries.

Most American companies, however, are not geared up for international business. The first time an inquiry or an order from an overseas client shows up, they often don’t know how to proceed. As a client of mine says, “It’s like trying to date a mermaid. She’s in the water and you’re on land. What do you do?” The answer is easy: “Learn to swim.”

So let’s talk about learning to swim in the global market.

An inquiry from any market, whether domestic or international, indicates business potential. In today’s fiercely competitive business world, you can’t afford to ignore any potential market, and here are five reasons why:

  1. A recent survey of CEOs around the world indicates that they consider growth as the greatest challenge to their companies. Today, very few companies can achieve significant growth just by staying within their national markets.
  2. Most of the top 100 Fortune 500 companies get more than 50% of their revenues from overseas markets.
  3. In today’s borderless world, there are no longer local markets. Expect foreign competition no matter where you are or how small your business may be.
  4. 95% of the world’s population lives outside the United States, and that 95% includes foreign business people who are working 24/7 to get a piece of your market.