You must have heard this often: live local, shop global! The statements are shaping consumer habits in every part of the world. Whether it is browsing through Amazon’s online outlets, or combing through Netflix boundless entertaining offerings; or outsourcing jobs to foreign talents on platforms such as TERAWORK to leverage advanced skills, or living as a diehard English Premiership football fan in some prairie islands of Asia and Africa, buyers’ behaviours are being transformed by the disappearing frontiers of the local market places. Business models are also following suit.
Since businesses must consistently tune in to consumer changing preferences, small businesses must take a global posture to remain competitive. This is instructive as the marketplace widen in scope and reach.
The reinvigoration of the Chinese economy, India’s bid to return to the position it held in 1819 among nations, and the US strategic shifting of the playground through innovative technologies and trade tactics have opened up a new vista for global trade. Hence as countries compete vigorously for trade advantage, businesses are learning to muscle their way through to every nickel and dime available in the wallets of the world 7 billion population. For small businesses, the contest for space in the global scheme of trade will be a test of their knowledge-base, depth of courage, and competence score along the entire value chain. It isn’t going to be otherwise.
Narayana Murthy, an Indian billionaire and co-founder of the technology firm, Infosys, had vividly pictured the widening global market framework. He said a decade into the new millennium, “Globalization is about sourcing capital where it is cheapest, sourcing talent where it is best available, producing where it is most efficient, and selling where the markets are.”
He added fittingly, “It is about operating without being constrained by national boundaries”.
Murthy’s thought is a firm summary of the path business transactions, and marketing relationship has tolled in the past 20 years. It is not going to change anytime soon despite the growing panics within the World Trade Centre as China and US’s trade conflicts escalate into a form of protectionism.
Here quickly are 4 key strategies small businesses should adopt to survive:
1. Develop products to global standards: Playing local is no longer sustainable. Although the products may appeal more to local consumers; they should be developed to global standards in terms of quality. That way the products’ appeal would broaden for placement on any e-commerce platform.
2. Leverage global freelance talent to strengthen service delivery: A business is as strong and competitive as its workforce. It is true that small businesses hardly have the financial strength to hire the best hands. But each small business can tap the deep collection of vetted skilled freelancers on TERAWORK to deliver work class services.
3. Maintain competitive cost structure: Cost often dictates selling price. Murthy’s advice of “producing where it is most efficient” should come in handy here. When small businesses bypass the hurdles of keeping an unnecessarily bloated staff line and producing where utility cost is high, they can deliver services and products of high quality and sell at competitive prices in the global marketplace.
4. Connect to a global audience: The web and social media have made it easier for businesses to navigate borders. Targeting consumers in every part of the world is easier through e-commerce portals. Payment can also be received in any currency via global payment platforms. All small businesses need to do is to develop quality products, price right, and promote widely.