No-one is immune from competition. Global challengers can enter your market place from anywhere in the world, from places that have benefited from large talent pools and lower costs. Overnight your client base could disappear.
Companies which fail to leverage lower cost bases or adopt a global mind set and an agile approach will see their clients defecting to new entrants to their domestic market before they have a chance to react. The successful companies will be those which seek out talent to meet their customers’ needs and find these customers – wherever they may be.
Technology is the key determinant in shaping the way companies will work in the future. There is no longer a need for huge expenditure on IT infrastructure.
You can now communicate with colleagues and partners around the world using cheap, but highly effective tools such as Skype and email.
There are also a lot of high quality Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings, which give companies easy, secure access to applications from anywhere without large capital outlay. This means that no business is too tiny to take advantage of the available technology to communicate, sell and hire across the world.
In a global marketplace, technology has enabled productivity to grow, leverage time zones and make location irrelevant.
Technology has also made collaboration a lot easier. The increase in alliances with partners, suppliers, or amongst internal staff, is a key feature of a 21st Century Company. An increase in sharing information and approaches will lead to more co-operative culture.
Collaborative networks allow knowledge, information and ideas to be easily shared amongst distributed teams. By working together, there can be a significant increase in innovation and differentiation.
With the right collaborative tools, correctly implemented, organisations and their people can do things quicker and smarter.
One example of a company looking beyond geographical barriers is ClearCell Group. They were established in 2005 by two founders, initially working from home. Their first client was based in the Ukraine. Soon after their establishment, Clear Cell set up a team of analysts in a Quickstart Global client centre in Vadodara, India. Since then they have won clients in Russia, Canada and the US.
Today 90% of sales come from overseas operations, with 55% of their talent based outside the UK and have achieved a turnover of over £5m. Their success can be attributed to the skills and cost of the statisticians which they hired in India, helping them to win and keep more business.
The talent did not exist domestically, but by looking elsewhere they have built a strong and vibrant business.
In the future lots more companies with take this general strategy – that for every component of the business they find the best place to locate it. It’s a hugely efficient business and is enabled by technology.
Of course there will continue to be challenges faced by global start-ups – governments don’t operate at the same speed as the markets, and many are holding on to traditional boundaries and taxation systems.
Small companies have the same complexities with taxation as larger multi-nationals but don’t have the same resources to solve the problems. That’s why we take these challenges on to help our clients focus on growing their businesses.
As for the role of the CEO; I believe that in the world of truly global companies the traditional role of a chief executive won’t really exist – instead you’ll see a network of like-minded individuals who have the expertise and knowledge needed to make the company or operation work in their own domestic market. The CEO becomes a facilitator rather than a top-down leader.
As we emerge from recession, many organisations are using the experiences of the last year to rethink the way in which they operate – the winners will be those which see the global opportunities and grab them. Global Entrepreneurship Week will inspire people to do just that.
For more information on Neal Gandhi & Quickstart Global, the company headed up by Neal which helps companies to expand globally go to: www.quickstartglobal.com