Thinking of expanding your business to another city or across the country? Now is a great time to set your sights on even further horizons, says Elizabeth Littlefield, president and CEO of the U.S. Government’s Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC) In “The Itty-Bitty Multinational: Thinking Globally Isn’t Just for Big Companies,” appearing this week in the Atlantic, Littlefield encourages small business to start thinking about opportunities in emerging markets, which now make up 40 percent of the world’s economy and soon will be the majority of GDP.
Littlefield says there are countless success stories of entrepreneurs and small business owners investing in overseas markets to create a supply for the U.S. market or exporting goods to 96 percent of the world’s consumers who reside outside the country. She points out that sometimes foreign investment is the most effective and economical solution when exporting goods or services from the U.S. will not satisfy a local need.
As for U.S. job growth, Littlefield points to a recent study that indicates that U.S. companies that invest overseas actually create more jobs here than companies focused strictly on the domestic market. She says that “small exporters and those who invest abroad hire better-skilled workers and pay higher salaries; they grow larger and are more productive; and their operations are more capital-intensive than non-exporting firms.”
To help you negotiate through all the issues involved with overseas expansion –– OPIC offers its “Expanding Horizons” program. It’s a series of workshops across the country to provide you with information about OPIC’s finance and insurance products and services that can help you engage in the global marketplace. The next one takes place June 27 in New York.
While OPIC can help you negotiate through the financial, governmental and even political issues you will encounter as you cast your business net abroad, today’s technology supports your expansion anywhere. With VoIP services like Skype all you need is an Internet connection and a headset and you can make calls and video conference to your employees anywhere in the world free or with a paid subscription for calls to landlines and mobiles. (Also see: “Why SMBs are making the call to VoIP“).
It really is a small world after all…