How to Effectively Grow Your Small Business Globally – Nu Leadership Series

“Too many leaders act as if the sheep… their people… are there for the benefit of the shepherd, not that the shepherd has responsibility for the sheep.”
Ken Blanchard

How does a small business owner strategically expand his business for a global market? Are international markets only reserved for larger companies? Clearly, this issue of expanding into international markets is not easy nor cheap. I read an interesting column on this subject by Jim Hopkins in USA Today. He provided a good case of why it is possible for small businesses to expand internationally.

Although I supported his position, I felt some vital factors were missing. His column showcased a list of small business successes. I agreed with his list, which included outstanding entrepreneurs, such as Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates.

Some readers may view these success stories as mere luck. This perspective would not be true. However, these individuals were slaves to their visions. Successful entrepreneurs think strategically when engaged in a global environment.
Many of these famed business owners started with smaller organizations. Today small businesses are experiencing the realities of a slowing economy. According to a 2004 Small Business Administration (SBA) study, 580,900 small businesses opened in 2005, and 576,200 closed. The SBA noted that 67 percent of these new companies were able to survive at least 2 years while 44 percent survived at least 4 years.
Exemplary organizations think strategically. Recently, my consulting firm, PMLA, released the results of a qualitative study to examine better ways of improving the success rate of small businesses in the public sector.
Case examples of four successful companies involved in contracting with the federal government were evaluated. The study revealed four critical tasks necessary to achieve a competitive advantage: (1) inspire vision, (2) define core competencies, (3) apply strategic thinking, and (4) connect with employees. Therefore, successful entrepreneurs move beyond good planning to a strategic thinking mode in order to sustain and grow their businesses.


Hopkins, J. (July 31, 2006). Ready to start your business. USA Today. Small Business Section.

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green