The longest, most complex journey you can imagine begins with a single step; one confident action.
That is definitely the case when it comes to taking your business global. Getting there can entail plenty of bends, twists, and turns. But it all starts with the simple recognition that your product or service could find eager customers beyond the United States. You begin by thinking big, and in broad terms, but once you start narrowing things down to real action, it’s a step-by-step process.
If you’re serious about going global, I’d love to help you think about the process — and even walk you through some of those steps — in the next few blogs I write.
There is one very important thing to know: You don’t have to be a large corporation to be a global player. It’s kind of funny — the rest of the world knows that, but it’s taken American entrepreneurs some time to realize that.
It’s also very important to recognize the world still thinks of “Made in the USA” as top quality. Maybe we forget that ourselves, because the USA label is sometimes hard to find in our own stores these days.
Your product and service will be welcomed. The easiest way to enter global business is with guidance. I believe a good place to start is an agency called U.S. Commercial Services, a unit of the U.S. Department of Commerce. U.S. Commercial Services is a fountain of information that matches American companies with international business partners. (I’ll be happy to explore their operations in a separate blog in the near future.) This agency operates in more than 100 U.S. cities, and in nearly 80 other nations. They have a big presence in Metro Detroit. Try them at (313) 226-3650, office.detroit@N0SPAM.trade.gov or (248) 975-9600, U. S. Export Assistance Center, Pontiac, MI.
One of the many areas the U.S. Commercial Services will discuss with you is how to assemble your global package. The agency, with its global presence, understands the importance of language and culture and of what you, a global business, should be aware. One aspect is that you need a strong translation and interpretation service to prepare your information, taking into account language and cultural differences you’ll encounter. At the very least, a professional translator will make sure your letters of introduction, business cards, and trifold brochures are translated properly, and in the right cultural context. Approaching the market right shows you’re serious. They’ll see you’re not just trolling to see if you can get a bite.
There are plenty of things you can do to ramp up your global business. Go on trade missions, for instance. Various local groups such as Automation Alley, Wayne County, and chambers of commerce sponsor these trips and help you with the necessary homework. These trips are not too expensive to consider, and can pay big rewards. (More on trade missions down the road.)
There are lots of tasks ahead as you pursue global business for yourself. However, as you cross the items off your to-do list, don’t forget to keep your enthusiasm. Crossing the threshold of international business, embracing a new language and a new culture, can be the most fun you’ve ever had!