Your Competition Is No Longer Local
International businesses have always been a feature of economies everywhere. This was largely due to the presence of multinational companies. Of late, however, the business landscape is changing with even small businesses being able to operate beyond their borders.
Barriers To Entry To The International Market
Multinational companies were able to conduct business in countries beyond their home borders mainly because they have huge budgets. Operating in another country requires a huge reserve of capital to take care of all the expenses involved.
There is the capital required to purchase assets and maintain them, pay staff in the foreign country as well as tax considerations. Government regulation in the foreign country also has to be contended with. These are all expenses that are not affordable for small business.
Operating in another country requires extensive research before operations are established. A lack of the appropriate information about the business environment in which your business will operate in another country is a big impediment to progress.
Once on the ground, an international firm has to figure out marketing and distribution. You cannot expect your product or service to sell itself once on the ground. Without a proper means to market and distribute your product or service, your business endeavour will be dead in the water.
There are of course many other barriers to entry in entering international markets but the ones I have highlighted above are some of the important ones, in as far as small business is concerned, that the Internet has removed.
The Power and Reach Of The Internet
The Internet is a remarkable feature of our times. It has vastly improved communication and has made information widely and cheaply available.
With the advent of the Internet and how far the Web has progresses today, it is no longer essential for a business to have a physical presence on the ground in order to conduct business beyond its borders.
This can eliminate the need to have staff on the ground. Of course there are some types of businesses where it is not possible to operate internationally without having personnel on the ground but this is possible with most service oriented businesses.
Where it is not possible to operate beyond borders without a physical presence on the ground, the involvement of business partners in the foreign country may be considered.
The Internet now makes it possible for us to do research that is fairly accurate in terms of gaining an understanding for a particular foreign market. This information can be obtained with a fairly minimal investment in time and effort.
Furthermore, a business operating within the reach of the Internet faces less red tape in terms of regulation requirements than is the case if operating on the ground in a foreign country.
Affordable Tools Of Communication
The Internet as it has evolved today has seen a wide array of communication tools being made available to businesses. Such communication tools include the ubiquitous Whatsapp and Skype. These tools allow us to communicate with anyone on the globe as long as they have Internet access.
This is a significant improvement from the telephone in that it is made available at almost no cost. The tools I am talking about are available through a free download and allow for unlimited communication.
There is however a limitation to these free tools, they do not allow for group voice communication. They are particularly suited for one-on-one conversations. For group communications, you will have to invest in paid tools.
The paid tools I am talking about are tools such as Skype business that allow for group communication and screen sharing. VOIP and video conferencing are also available to consider for this purpose.
Even though these group communication tools come at a cost, they are not exorbitant and are within the affordable range of small business. If there is a hallmark to modern day communications, it’s affordability.
A Case In Point
The world is getting smaller. People are moving all over the world and establishing themselves in countries that are not their places of birth. Furthermore people are becoming more open to doing business with people beyond their borders as long as the terms are right.
As a case in point, I am in the final stages of a web app development project which involves two business partners I am working with. I went to the same university with one of the business partners but have never met with the other.
The interesting thing is that for the entire duration of the project none of us were ever in the same room. My buddy from university is based in South Africa and his partner is based in the UK whilst the project will based in Zimbabwe.
We communicate using Whatsapp and go through the software review over Skype for Business. With Skype for Business we are able to share screens so that we can review the app. Apart from some network issues now and then, the experience has been seamless.
My case in point is that it is not that there are no developers capable of delivering on this job in the UK or in South Africa. They are there but these partners decided to go with me on this project. I cannot claim to know how they decided to go with me but I am certain that the terms were right for them at the right price, plus they were confident in my ability to deliver.
Challenges and Opportunities For Growth
This scenario is indicative of the state of the market today. People are prepared to look far and wide for people to work with in business and are even prepared to cross borders to get whom they believe to be the right people for the job.
But what does this really mean? For one thing, it means more competition. It means that your competition is no longer local. People now have the means to find the right talent anywhere on the planet at the cost that suits them.
Whilst it is daunting and challenging to think of competing with the whole world, it presents lots of opportunities if you work to perfect your craft. We need to work on our talents to be able to compete on a global scale.
Perhaps what is even more important is the ability to find clients beyond our borders. The clients are there if you position yourself right and the tools to engage those clients are also available at low cost, if not for free.
However, not all businesses can operate beyond their borders in the same way that Synergy Kinetics does, but all businesses can recruit partners to work with across borders. Business partners in another country can help your business leverage the combined strength and resources to serve an international market.