Local vs. Global Collaboration? Pros and Cons for Small Businesses
July 4, 2018
In today’s economy, going global is not the real question anymore. In fact, it’s almost impossible to work on a solely local level. Whether it’s sourcing supplies, selling products, or working with overseas contractors, most businesses operate globally to at least some extent.
No, the real question is not whether or not to go global, but to what extent. Would your business be better off with supplies from China instead of your domestic supplier? How well would your products sell in the UK? Should you hire IT experts from India or from next door?
Since each business situation is unique, a drawback for one may very well be the ultimate advantage for another.
Questions like these plague small business owners constantly, because going with the wrong option may cost them money, productivity, competitiveness, or even their business.
Local and global collaboration both have advantages and drawbacks. Since each business situation is unique, a drawback for one may very well be the ultimate advantage for another. Here’s a rule-of-thumb description of pros and cons you can refer to while considering what’s best for your business.
Regardless of the supplies you need, it’s quite possible that they’re produced at a lower cost somewhere other than in the US. This can be explained by factors like the cost of labor, less strict regulations, or the availability of raw material.
From this point of view, sourcing globally is a no-brainer. However, there are other factors to consider.
Your supplies need to go through countless procedures before they enter your shop, which drives up their price to some extent.
In addition to the price of supplies, you need to pay (and arrange) for shipping, duties, and insurance. Your supplies need to go through countless procedures before they enter your shop, which drives up their price to some extent.
In addition, it does matter where your supplies are coming from. Even if there’s no trade war going on with your country of choice, you still need to look at local regulations and whether the supplies comply with US rules. You don’t want to end up with a whole shipment of textile produced by slave labor.
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Selling goods on your local market can only get you so far. Unless you’re selling products with a quick expiry date and at frequent, regular demand (like fresh bread, for example), your local market can quickly become saturated and your numbers may drop.
If you expand your market overseas, you can gain new customers and increase your revenue.
Widening your reach globally is often the answer to these potential setbacks. If you expand your market overseas, you can gain new customers and increase your revenue.
However, exporting comes with a price. Just like with sourcing supplies, you need to deal with shipping, duties, and a different set of regulations. Not to mention the myriad of research you need to do beforehand to get accustomed to foreign regulations, customs, and marketing.
Your business depends on your employees. Whether local or global, your business needs talent to flourish.
Thanks to technology, many of today’s jobs can be performed remotely. If that’s the case with your business (and you want to save a buck or two on office space and overhead costs), you can consider hiring workers from anywhere in the world.
Thanks to technology, many of today’s jobs can be performed remotely. If that’s the case with your business
This provides you with the opportunity to choose the best possible talent, whether local, national, or global. Even if your business isn’t located in Silicon Valley or another giant hub of talent, you can still hire the best experts in your field.
Remote work gives you (and your employees) more flexibility at a lower cost. However, depending on your agreement with your workers, you may need to deal with difficulties like different time zones, cultural differences, and foreign regulations.
By now, you hopefully have a better idea of the extent of global collaboration that would be ideal for your business. If the only thing that’s holding you back is the difficulty of global payments, you can stop worrying.
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