In today’s vast world, small businesses are a bridge between the local and the global. They may employ far less employees than multinational corporations but that doesn’t mean that they don’t dream big – or that their potential and activities do not have equal reach.
There is no escaping the reality that small businesses are nowadays global players: in June 2015, the US Small Business Administration reported that while US exports’ known value grew by 1.4% from 2012 to 2013, small business export value improved by 4.5%, led by firms with an employee base between 250 and 499 people. This means increased profit and opportunities, but also increased responsibilities for smaller scale enterprises.
If you want to take your small business to the global stage, there are things you can do to achieve just that – here are two of them.
1. Online Sales – The Global Village At Your Feet
Now, more than ever, small businesses are no longer confined within national borders but can leave a global fingerprint – we need look no further than the statistics. With technological developments leading the way and consumers having become far more familiar with the digital world than the previous generation was, e-commerce is booming.
It was estimated that this year e-commerce revenues globally will reach the astounding amount of 2.352 trillion US dollars and they are projected to grow to more than 4 trillion US dollars in just three years. Meanwhile, according to the same source, online shopping penetration reached 67% in the US and 76% in the UK, where, incidentally, small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2016 and made up 47% of all private sector turnover.
Small businesses are steadily taking advantage of increased opportunities to sell online: for example, it is now easier than ever to set up your own e-shop and connect to customers all around the world. International trade agreements, market globalization, and tax cooperation initiatives between states make it all the more easier.
2. Cross-border Data Transfers – Be Aware And Be Careful
One of the pillars of acting globally is communicating with trading partners, consumers, and employees all around the world. This, in essence, means that small businesses might in fact be operating on a global scale without even realizing it: it occurs every time they engage in cross border data transfers. This encompasses a vast array of everyday functions, from analyzing large datasets to streamlining global supply chains and outsourcing customer support services to simple things like e-mailing co-workers, clients, or vendors, or even using the Web to post a social media comment on behalf of the enterprise.
It is important that small businesses become aware of this aspect of their financial activities, since the result is that an ever-increasing amount of employee, consumer, and corporate customer data is being collected and processed on a daily basis – which effectively also means that there is increased potential for data and privacy breaches.
So, entrepreneurs need to become aware of regulatory privacy and data localization requirements. For example, EU’s privacy requirements are stricter than the US equivalent and businesses that wish to expand their operations towards EU-based clients need to take notice.
Do you have any other tips to add that can help propelling a small business to become a global player? Please share with us.