Running a beach resort in the Caribbean – is your entrepreneurship local or global? Well, my premise and strong conviction is that at some level and in some sense all entrepreneurship however local is truly global. Sounds surprising, here is why I believe so strongly:
Increased globalization and a truly flat world means no business is exempt from being impacted by and impacting global business trends and developments
In the new interconnected world, even a small business in the corner of Jamaica does get impacted by what is happening elsewhere.
For example, if global oil prices go up, there will be impact across the islands and this price rise will affect most businesses. Or for example if the global fashion trend changes, the small entrepreneur running a garments store in the neighbourhood is as likely to be impacted with the pressure to buy stock in line with the trend. Since football is popular across the Caribbean, the FIFA world cup has significant impact on diverse kind of businesses in the Caribbean. That is one kind of impact.
Tomorrow let us say China finds better ways of making steel and much cheaper, a small business in the corner of Russia selling steel articles and sourcing steel locally will be affected.
Or to give you an example, let us say due to ICC world cup a million new visitors throng the West Indies who have not been to this part of the world before. Let us assume they are all frequent travelers and currently frequent visitors to Bali or Thailand. Now suppose a fraction of them from India fall in love with the West Indies and decide to make it their favorite destination, some small travel firm sitting in Chennai focusing on package tours to Thailand will be affected and vice-versa (an Indian travel firm handling package tours to west indies will see the business growing).
Come to think of it, every major global development – political or economical impacts businesses across the world – big or small – India or West Indies and this is here to stay. And only grow as the world gets further inter-connected and flatter.
Customers are increasingly global
As one begins to travel the world the one thing that strikes compared to the previous years is the drastic change in profile of the customers of any business across the world and their diversity. Think your mall in Jamaica is meant for Jamaicans??? Think again. You might have a Russian, an Indian and an Australian and why even someone from Brunei shopping there. The Ayurvedic resorts in Kerala attract people from all over the world. Now, what do you call a business that serves global customers?? Local or global??? And in the same vein what do you call an entrepreneur who is behind such a venture. Local or global???
Customer expectations and service standards are increasingly global
Just run this quick survey. How many hotels and resorts across the world have started offering internet connectivity or some business facility in the past two years vis-à-vis the number before. You would be surprised by the answer. Factoring exceptions you will find almost significant jump in percentages across nations and markets. Now, that happened because people today know what is being offered across the world irrespective of where they are located through the net and multiple other sources. Besides more and more people are criss-crossing the globe and networking intensely than ever before. So, it is inevitable and true that the customer expectations or standards are not what is specific to your country but what is prevalent and common across the world. The logical question that arises then is, what do you call a business that is aligned to global customer expectations and service standards? Local or global?? And in the same vein what do you call an entrepreneur who is behind such a venture. Local or global???
The bottomline is simple and the writing on the wall is clear. Irrespective of which country you decide to start a venture, the kind of space you choose to start your venture, the level at which you start your venture and the kind of geographical spread of the venture, by default you are global in some sense and at some level.
The important thing for entrepreneurs is to understand this, treat this as part and parcel of their planning and organizational building process and keep their ears open for any change or development across the world which will in its wake throw a new opportunity or create a new competitor or require significant changes to your product or service. It will allow you to be better prepared and you will not be caught surprised by the tide or turn of events. Howzzzzzat???