Saturday, 13 December 2014

Expanding your Marketplace: Taking your Business Global

Author: Dr. Cheryl Cottle 

Entrepreneurs regardless of gender need to be thinking about taking their business global regardless of geography. Canadian business women for example should think of taking her business from her tiny enclave within the province she lives in to neighboring communities and to other provinces overall. In addition to this level of expansion, she can also take her business global to other countries across the globe. The same applies to women in business in the USA. You can exploit the marketplace by going outward from your small community to others and extending to other States; as well as expanding into other parts of the world. Similarly, women business owners from other parts of the globe including the Caribbean, for example can also expand their market to other parts of the Caribbean, into Europe, North America, Latin and South America, Africa, India, and China to name a few of the world's market.

In today’s global economies with the advent of computer technology, the internet and social media, you must change, or you will be forever left behind; and this is not a cliche: It is a fact. Businesses regardless of size must get onto the bandwagon of technology. You no longer need a mobile phone and a fax machine; you also need a website, e-mail, access to the internet over all, and high speed internet connection. Technology is here and it is here to stay. With the advent of computer based technology business has become more competitive, but it has also provided people with greater opportunity to leverage what they can do ― their services and products. If you are also into selling your product and you will like to take your product and services to a wider market, then you will have to think about integrating e-commerce into your business strategy. This allows your customers, regardless of their geographical location, time, and currency exchange, to access your product and make a purchase. 

What technology, the internet and social media have done for the entrepreneur?
  1. It has opened up connections and removed the barriers between individuals in different countries and continents who want to trade with each other. 
  2. You can easily conduct a detailed search of a company so that you know with whom you are doing business.
  3.  If you are looking for that special product or services, a search of the internet can put you in direct contact with the best in the market. 
  4. The internet and computer-based technologies enable you to do business twenty four hours a day from where ever you are in the world and with whom you want to. 
  5. It also enables you to make contact with people with whom you might never have met. 
  6. The internet also puts you in direct contact with your supplier, or buyer thus reducing cost and time as in traditional business transaction.
  7. Essentially the internet removes national boundaries thus opening a global gate-way to commerce. 
The advice that I will give to small and micro business owners, particularly those with a special commodity, is to extend your market globally, regardless of where you are located geographically. You will no longer be stuck in your small village in a remote part of a third world country relying only upon some of the local people to buy from you. Or perhaps a foreign visitor, who by chance has come face to face with your work, or that foreign agent who promises to take your work internationally claiming to give you international acclaim; and often times never seeing them again after entrusting them with some of your best pieces of creations. Accessing the internet and the technology available will provide you with the tools to take your business global.

I will also like to advice small business owners and micro business owners, the time has come to adopt some structure and formality to your business, if you are expected to achieve maximum benefit from the technologies available to the twenty first century entrepreneur. I will like to recommend that you do the following:

  • Register your business
  • Give your business a name. 
  • See your entrepreneurial venture as a business and not a hobby
  • If possible trade mark your product. Create a signature emblem of your work
  • Create some marketing material for your work including business cards, flyers or brochures is a great place to start
  • Get a telephone number associated to your business
  • Open a business account
  • Get a social media account 
  • Build an online presence
  • Let people know you and your work. Brand your work and you
  • Get exposure through your local radio programs, television and newspaper
  • Attend local craft shows and community events
  • Join your local Chambers of Commerce
These are some things that you can do to gain visibility and be known for your product.

This article was first written and published by Dr. Cheryl Cottle in 2010. It has been revised for this publication.

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