All the talk about thinking locally and acting globally has become more than a bit clichéd. And, with everyone in business able to sell products and services anywhere in the world with relative ease, how do we determine exactly what is important on a local basis and what needs to be consistent no matter where in the world you are working, or whom you are working with?
Start with the right people
It’s great to have local people on the ground in other countries. It’s important that they speak the language, know the currency, and can navigate the legal system. But what must be global, in other words the same everywhere, are the basic tenets of people who can solve problems, who can navigate around risk, and, most importantly, can be ambassadors of your company culture.
Cultural fit is not about representing your country of origin; it’s about representing your business of origin. These employees need not only to be hooked into your headquarters via technology and teams, they also have to have a strong understanding of the company’s objectives and business goals, and they need to support the personality of your company and your brand.
Expect everything from your competition
Competition is global too. While local competitors may be real current threats, looming in the not-too-far-off are contenders all over the globe. With everyone wanting to go global, it’s only a matter of time before good businesses everywhere take their business abroad—inevitably landing in your territory, possibly through buyouts of current local competitors. Suddenly, your little local competition grew up and is a big, bad threat. And, they already know the language, currency, laws, and, more importantly, the local marketplace—which gives them an incredible competitive advantage.
Stay true to the core of your business
So how do you keep growing your business within an ever-changing and evolving global marketplace? How do you keep gaining share and increasing revenue? My thoughts are this: With everything that is new—better technology, expanding social media and web opportunities, big data—it’s the stuff at the core of the business that is going to make a difference.
Because it always comes back to price, service, and relationships.
With all the trends, if you don’t have a decent price that offers value to your customer, if you don’t have the right people to support your business and cultivate rich relationships, and if you can’t give customers a satisfactory, quality experience—you just not might be in business in the next few years, locally or globally. It seems too simple, but I truly believe that if you maintain a strong focus on price, service, and relationships, both you and your customer will win, and both of your businesses will grow. And we will all be back to read this blog again next year.