With the Olympics now over, I am finally celebrating the return of my husband who truly should have won a gold medal for TV viewing over the last two weeks. Captivated by the luge, downhill, and even Dick Button’s fireside figure skating commentaries, Randy has been laser focused on the happenings in Vancouver.
While I personally don’t have the patience to sit through the Cirque De Soleil-like opening and closing ceremonies, the endless athlete interviews, and about 95% of the coverage of the games, I do love the concept of nations coming together to compete. The Olympics are one of those rare, truly international events that inspire and educate all of us to think beyond our hometown.
As I work from my spare bedroom in my suburban home in Scottsdale, Arizona, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day, business as usual tasks that occupy my time. I can focus on my work with local businesses, not stay up to date with the news of the world, and neglect to reach out for new business opportunities beyond my neck of the woods. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many, many businesses.
Of course, there are certainly local businesses that can’t become international. It’s doubtful that the neighborhood dry cleaner or sandwich shop is thinking in terms of multi-national growth. However, there are plenty of small business owners out there who can market their products and services beyond the borders of their city, state, and even country.
Why is it important to start thinking globally when it comes to business development? Obviously, the number one reason is that there is money on the table for those who venture beyond familiar territory. Overseas business accounts for approximately 25 to 30 percent of my annual income, and for some, it can make up an even bigger portion.
Secondly, having international customers makes working more interesting. Not a week goes by that I don’t learn something of value from helping businesses that are located abroad. Today, I had to promote MediaRing Talk’s calling service to India because they are celebrating one of their biggest holidays there called Holi or the Festival of Colors. It’s a springtime festival that is celebrated by Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs. Well, I wouldn’t have known about Holi if it wasn’t for my work with MediaRing.
Finally, I love the fact that I, just like the Olympic athletes, have the opportunity to meet and form friendships and partnerships with individuals from all walks of life. It makes my work and my life richer and more meaningful.
In 2010, I hope to continue finding new opportunities to work with businesses in other countries and to get to know the interesting individuals behind them. It’s a big world out there, and this small business owner wants to take advantage of all that it has to offer.