Ignoring globalization in management decisions is no longer an option, and without understanding what globalization is, organizations are creating hindrances that can (and should) be avoided.
The opportunity for globalization in business, regardless of size and scope, has expanded dramatically. Modern technology has solved many of the issues surrounding business globalization - whether it’s logistics, marketing, or localization, new strategies provide effective ways to incorporate globalization into growth plans.
In this article, we’ll discuss what globalization is and why it's globalization important for business.
To start, let's cover the basics: what is globalization?
In business terms, globalization refers to how a company expands operations and branding into foreign markets. There are other definitions out there, depending on the area of focus. For example, in economics and international relations, globalization is defined to focus more on people’s movement, culture, technology, information, and trade across borders.
However, when it comes to business growth and international strategy, there used to be significant hurdles that a company needed to overcome to distribute goods and services across international borders. And while some of those issues remain, technology has made things more accessible.
Even more so, as companies move online and technology continues to advance exponentially, the lines between globalization in marketing to a domestic vs. international community is blurring. In the smartphone industry, for example, region-locked versions of specific models are becoming rarer and thus are available to more markets than before.
One of the biggest benefits is probably the most obvious - a more extensive customer base. Digital communication and social media platforms have created an opportunity for even the most minor operations to have a world stage presence.
A small one-person shop in the middle of the U.S. can more easily sell their hand-crafted goods to someone in Europe and Africa thanks to common globalization strategies. Through these digital communication channels, that same business can significantly cut its overhead by outsourcing tasks that don’t need in-house attention, like customer service, storage, and shipping. Using the power of third-party vendors, many businesses can run off a small in-house team that would have been otherwise impossible a few decades ago.
Even in the last two decades, startups designed to disrupt sectors have started to become more commonplace. In 2008, a small company that started out renting air mattresses to local visitors during the Industrial Design Conference in San Francisco was able to disrupt the hospitality industry by monetizing peer-to-peer room sharing. And now, that same company is a multi-billion dollar enterprise.
With the many benefits that business globalization provides, it comes with its fair share of challenges. As you open more channels and rely on powers outside of your direct control, quality control is a significant concern.
One of the most critical aspects of branching into international markets is making sure your online presence is available and accessible in the right languages. An English-speaking company moving into a non-English-speaking locale without the right translations will quickly face barriers that impede growth and make getting the right message out to new audiences difficult.
Another factor to consider is the additional expenses associated with international business. Globalization has made it possible to reach, and ultimately sell to, foreign nationals in many countries. However, shipping, tariffs, and export fees can quickly eat into any profits that it hopes to generate through the expansion. Along with that, it can also mean dealing with tax and compliance laws that differ from the regulations back home.
Advancements in technology and the increasing penetration of internet access to even the most remote regions make the world a smaller place. Large businesses no longer have a stranglehold over the international markets. Small companies now have access to a diverse talent pool that can allow them to innovate and do so while keeping overhead to a minimum.
With access to a global market, a single person with a clever idea and the skill to leverage the tools globalization provides can disrupt entire industries. Making sure that the right processes and systems are set up can make international growth a key part of any company's future plans.
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If you'd like to learn more about why language translation is the key to a successful globalization strategy, get in touch with us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We had the pleasure of joining the SF Globalization meetup this past Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco, where our CEO Spence Green gave a presentation on recent advancements in neural machine translation.