ZD Net recently ran an article about how the U.S. and U.K. differ in the rate of cloud adoption.  ZDNet found that 35% of UK businesses are adopting cloud technology vs 58% in the US. What has the experience been for other companies. We are finding an aggressive adoption rate among UK businesses that would say this isn’t so. I would be interested as to what other companies working in the UK are finding

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It is always interesting when speaking with companies about their global business that they seem to think going global is a part time activity. Many businesses tend to allocate resources on a part time basis. That is, the individuals or group tasked with managing the international business has this responsibility as a part time job. They have their normal duties and managing international is a part time endeavor.

The successful companies recognize the value of doing business globally and commit the proper resource, people and budget, to do the job right. That being said it isn’t just about resources. I thought this article in Fast Company really spoke to what it takes to be a truly global company. It’s a culture and a thoughtful planning process that also contributes to the success. Click here to read the Fast Company article.

This week I finished my latest coaching experience with ExporTech. What a great 3 months. I worked with two companies to develop their export strategy and plan. From a coaches perspective this was a perfect relationship. Both companies were committed to the process and dedicated the time to make sure their plan was as good as it could be. Before the end of the program the first company had already made an international trip to scope out the market opportunity, talk with potential partners and become active in the regions advisory and standards committees. The second company was looking more at the feasibility of taking their products internationally. When all was finished this week they had an excellent grasp of what needed to be done when they were ready to take the company into the international market.

From my perspective it was a great experience to work with two organizations that were committed to understand the export opportunities  for their particular situations. Again, this experience validated my belief that companies need the commitment of the organization, from the top, to truly evaluate the international opportunities and to understand the resources necessary to make their plans a successful reality. I look forward to my next chance to participate.

Companies considering moving into an international market are often focused on the revenue and profit associated with such a move. But what are some of the intangibles to putting together an international strategy?

Consider the impact on the employees. Everyone wants to be associated with a company that’s going places. What better than to work for a company that is selling in countries through out the world. It’s a great boost for morale and employee self confidence.

My experience is that companies that are international have a much better chance of discovering new opportunities that weren’t a part of the original export plan. The saying that one thing leads to another is a trueism when a company is selling its products internationally.

The company itself will benefit from being associated with selling internationally. Vendors will view it differently, banks will often be more willing to partner with a company that has true international business and it will be easier to hire top of the line employees when you can demonstrate an international sales presence.

So going international is much more than profit and growth, although both of those are the real motivation to expand into new markets around the world.

Another Wisconsin ExporTech program begins this week in Eau Claire. Craig is coaching two companies to develop their international export plans and strategies. The program runs for 3 months and is a great tool for companies who have either not sold internationally or are just dabbling. There is still room for a couple of additional companies to participate. If interested register at http://www.uwstout.edu/profed/exportech/ or contact Joni Geroux gerouxj@uwstout.edu

The global workforce is going through a change. In developing countries there are more workers joining the work force then there are jobs for them. As an example, a recent TV spot highlighted Chinese reality shows where young adults highlighted their work skills and ambitions in an attempt to “win a job” from some of the employers participating in the show. Because of the lack of jobs many Chinese job seekers take positions in other countries in order to earn a living. We need to attract the best and brightest to the US.

In the US we aren’t doing our part and taking advantage of the shifting global workforce. We educate students from many parts of the world and then we drive them away by not making it easy for them to stay here.  As the global workforce changes, business needs to continue to adapt. And, the US government needs to find ways for our business’ to compete and keep the brightest and hardest working individuals within our companies. We also need to attract workers from other parts of the world who are looking for a place to go.

This country was built on a foundation of bright, hard-working and creative immigrants. We need to continue those policies and business strategies that have brought us success in the past.

Minda Zetlin wrote an article recently in Inc. that I think anyone starting a small businesses should read. The article was “Starting a Business? Think Global Right From The Start”.  Here is an excerpt;

It may sound silly: You don’t even have your first customer yet. But considering a global strategy from the moment you launch your business can set you up for greater flexibility and much faster growth. Even a corner pizza shop might have global reach–just ask the place adjacent to Zuccotti Park that took orders from all over the world for pizzas to be sent to Occupy Wall Street protesters.

Here are four good reasons to create a global strategy from the very start:

1. You already have a huge advantage.

2. You’ll design it right the first time.

3. You can be a global customer as well as seller.

4. You can grow very fast.
The full article can be found at  http://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/starting-a-business-think-global-from-day-one.html