A few years back we used to have a product called GlobalOffice – it was targeted at foreign small businesses who wanted to export product or just support their customers in local markets. We learned that our customers just used our OnlineOffice and made arrangements for the “Live” services themselves – and this has been the way ever since we withdrew GlobalOffice to focus on our “core” business to provide a Small Business Infrastructure – SBI.
- Only about 4% of US companies are exporters and the US has the lowest level of exports as a % of GNP of the G7 countries – roughly 10%. The highest is Germany at almost 45% and the 2nd lowest is Japan at a bit over 15%
- SME’s (defined as less than 500 employees) accounted for 29% of US export value in 2005.
- While the number of exporting businesses in the US grew rapidly in 90’s, it has stayed relatively flat since 2000. In 2005 there were roughly 239,000 exporting companies, 97% of which are SMEs.
- 58% of exporting companies traded in only one export market.
Localization, local red-tape and the often horrendous cost associated with exporting make it difficult for small business to work in foreign markets. I believe these barriers are slowly disappearing, not only with the help of technology, but with the understanding of technology.
Globelization 3.0 as I call it – I have written about it before – will enable very small business and start-up business, like SOHO-, SME, SMB-, Micro-, Lifestyle-, Home-, DIY-, Hobby-, Boomer-, Professional-, Personal business, to take full advantage of global markets for products and services. Even personal business, like contractors, freelancer, self-employed, sole-trader and virtual assistants can now use social networking communities to develop international virtual project teams or at least be part of at least one or more.
In ten years time these numbers will be very different – as it will no longer matter, if your customer is next door or half way around the globe. For some this is a reality already – have you thought about this when planning your start-up business?