A Global View Doing Business Internationally, Part II:

A Global View Doing Business Internationally, Part II:
Offering Greater Levels Of Service

You must be prepared to supply your international customer with an even greater level of service than you present to your local customers. To inspire confidence in your international customers, you may need to offer such things as 24/7 telephone support, extended warranties, and other services that will help customers have trust in doing business with you.

It will be necessary to understand all of the rules that control international business practices in your own country, as well as those in your customer’s country. Awareness of the rules will permit you to provide services beyond those anticipated by your buyer, and make you feel sure that you are operating within the boundaries of local law.

Always be on the lookout for experienced businesses as your service providers, particularly when it comes to insurance, shipping, freight forwarders, etc. Your helpmeet companies such as these are great allies and will assist in keeping everything in order, and will also help in resolving problems related to their part of your business processes.

As technology wears away the cultural, geographic, and communication barriers, even small businesses can frequently tap into the international marketplace. If you think your company is too small to engage in international business opportunities, think again!

Modern business is worldwide, and demands that people travel to foreign countries, where they will mix with foreign clients, customers, or colleagues. Each one of the cultures that you visit will also have their own etiquette rules… many of them, unwritten. When two or more different cultures merge, it is commonplace for small etiquette errors to happen that might have harmful consequences.

International business etiquette makes itself quite evident, and in many shapes and sizes. You can find yourself in a snafu in short seconds. Throughout the world, the citizens of different cultures have varying etiquette rules that apply to such things as business meetings, personal space, communication, food, gift giving, and much more. For those wishing to make a good impression, a comprehension of international business etiquette is imperative.

Always keep in mind that meetings are significant moments where trust is being nurtured and affirmed. Be straightforward and clear concerning your desires.

Never conduct business using verbal agreements or orders. Always put everything in writing with the obligatory signatures. Participating in international business is different than in domestic business. Outside of the United States, signatures and seals are mandatory to seal the deal. Don’t worry about offending your buyer, as this is just another part of doing business internationally.

A key skill for those wanting to be successful when working abroad, is a deep understanding of international business etiquette and the differences in the contractual processes. Through a great appreciation and knowledge of others’ cultures, you are building stronger and longer-lasting business associations. This, coupled with your outstanding services and features list, will be the foundation for your international relationship for many years into the future!

495 words

A Global View Doing Business Internationally, Part I:

A Global View Doing Business Internationally, Part I:
Reach Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

There is a lot of talk today about being “global”. What exactly does the word global mean? A jet-setting person of the world? Every country is very different, and so are all localities, cities and towns. The skills a business person needs to be successful in international business go beyond being global.

According to Answers.com, The adjective global and adverb globally imply that the verb or noun to which they are applied applies to the entire Earth as one unit. It is sometimes used as a synonym for international/internationally but this is incorrect… Global implicitly implies the concept of one world, while international recognizes that different nations, peoples, and borders exist.

International is a broader term, in that it can refer
to something involving all nations or as few as only
two nations, but, presumably, all must be potentially
involved before it becomes truly global
Nonetheless, global has passed into common usage,
especially in the media, academia, and the business
Many use this term in situations where international
would clearly be the more appropriate term, as there
are few things that are truly global (even the
much-touted global economy for example…)

Source: http://www.answers.com/global&r=67

International commerce is progressively becoming borderless. An American businessman in Los Angeles may regularly need to be in contact with a manager of a company division in Hong Kong, just as a seller in Mexico City may often need to converse with a buyer in Paris.

The decision to do business outside your own back yard, however, should first have a basis in your accomplishments as a local, domestic business. Breaking into the international marketplace can launch your company into profitability and growth greater than you had before, and more rapidly than when you were just selling to a domestic market.

It is an extraordinarily small world that we live in and it is getting smaller every day. Ironically, if we look at the opportunities for business, it keeps getting larger, with the development of international markets. Do not let fear, or a perception of the immensity of worldwide business keep you from reaping the benefits of this growth.

Reach outside of your comfort zone. Discover the international business community and explore the possibilities with a well-planned one minute presentation. You may find your business increasing at speeds far beyond what you ever thought youd be able to do!

410 words

Which Targeted Segment Are You Marketing To? Part II:

Which Targeted Segment Are You Marketing To? Part II:
Lifestyle — Reach Consumers According To Their Habits

In sociology terms, a lifestyle is the manner in which a person or a group lives. This might include patterns of social associations, consumption, leisure, and modes of dress. A lifestyle characteristically also echoes an individual’s attitudes, ethics, or worldview. Having a particular lifestyle suggests either a cognizant or an unaware choice between two or more sets of behaviors.

The following is a partial listing of lifestyles that are found in the 21st century. For the goal of this list, we will define lifestyle as any routines of shared relations, consumption, dress, and recreation, that are significant enough to meaningfully influence the lives of a sector of the population, and therefore can be used as a basis of social classification.

It is worth observing that these are not exacting and well-definied categories. There may be substantial overlap between many of them, and any given person may identify as belonging to more than one group, and enjoying the activities associated with more than one. Into the bargain, many of these categories also contain subclasses and subcultures. Here is a list (non-conclusive, of course!) of major societal groups:

1. General lifestyles — this includes a wide variety,
such as Activism, Back to the land, Hippie, Rural,
Simple Living, and yes, even “Traditional,” whatever
that means!
2. Income- or occupation-based lifestyles
3. Consumption-based lifestyles
4. Lifestyles based on social and political issues
5. Lifestyle classifications used in marketing
6. Military lifestyles
7. Sexual lifestyles
8. Lifestyles based on spiritual or religious preferences
9. Musical subculture lifestyles
10. Lifestyles based on recreation

In business, the term lifestyles provides a means for targeting consumers. Advertisers and marketers are constantly endeavoring to match consumer aspirations with products. Here is a non-conclusive list for the marketing world:

1. Achievers
2. Affluent
3. Belongers (joiners)
4. Early adopters
5. Empty nesters
6. Emulators
7. Opinion leaders
8. Over-consumers
9. Survivors
10. Young singles
11. Yuppies

When promotional activity is shaped around the attitudes, interests, opinions, and way of life of buyers, lifestyle marketing functions best when businesses are able to connect with the manners in which their potential customers live. Consumers are absorbed in a certain way of life, and a savvy lifestyle marketing group will formulate an approach to flawlessly blend in with this way.

395 words

Which Targeted Segment Are You Marketing To? Part I:

Which Targeted Segment Are You Marketing To? Part I:
Multicultural, Ethnic Spaces

We have become not a melting pot but a
beautiful mosaic. Different people, different
beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes,
different dreams.

~Jimmy Carter

Ethnic decor — whether you are a member of the ethnic group or just have a great love of the artifacts of the group — is more a sentiment than a science. This has to do with art… with culture. When you say country, modern, French, Victorian, et cetera, an immediate picture comes to your mind.

Ethnic groups — for example Latinos or African Americans — view the world and services or products from a totally different viewpoint than Caucasian Americans. Their cultural standpoint, lifestyle, values, and taste are all different from the mainstream. This phenomenon transforms into unique product selection habits, buying processes, and manners in using products, for a particular set of goods or services.

The arena is wide open, in an international field, for ownership in ethnic markets. What exactly does this mean, when we say a targeted market is ownable? If something is ownable, then it is possible to have or possess that item, as property… or, to have control over it. In our discussion on marketing to certain segments of ethnic populations, this simply means that you have cornered a section of that market, and have developed a group of steady, satisfied, loyal customers. They will look to you for solutions and products, before going elsewhere.

For you as a business owner, the first step to finding ownable ethnic market spaces is to discover which groups of ethnic customers are either underserved, or are not actively being targeted by any industry’s product or services. You define the gap, and proceed to fill the need! A business owner will look for an ethnic market space with a differing set of values and perceived needs from mainstream consumers… which, in the USA, are Caucasian Americans. You will be surprised and delighted at these differences.

The most commanding element of discovering an untapped market of ethnic customers is the perceived need — which migh be basic functionality, or extra comfort or luxury. One might believe that this is also accurate for the general market, but a savvy marketer understands that this discernment of need might be widely different from mainstream buyers.

An additional key factor for locating potential monopoly spaces (Definition: You have garnered a large, responsive area of a broad target market. They are loyal to you for having met specific needs) is to scrutinize ethnic spaces overlooked by your competition.

Even in the multicultural marketing plans of the most progressive businesses, often entire ethnic groups are viewed heterogeneously (consisting of dissimilar elements or parts; not homogeneous, which is of the same or similar nature or kind) Particularly for Latinos, this is a big mistake. Latinos have a large number of sub-groups that are the outcome of many major factors such as country of origin or Spanish language usage, to name just a few. African Americans have many sub-groups as well, having to do with Northern versus Southern locale, new residents whove arrived from foreign countries, and a variety of age-related groups. To many marketers, these ethnic niches are literally invisible. Luckily, this creates the ideal opportunity in many industries for businesses to pick out and gain control in valuable niche spaces within Latino and African American shopper audiences.

Strategically, it is important for a marketer to cultivate deep relationships with their particular ethnic audience. This connection is specifically important for companies offering services or products that differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

Perhaps this topic has excited you and you are becoming certain that you would be successful in a given ethnic marketplace. However, you are wanting to know exactly where to begin. Your solutions are probably all around you… from your home, to the restaurants and other businesses you visit, to the books that interest you at the library. Look around your home for ethnic home decorations that youve collected, to provide you with some inspiration. Items such as art works could lead you to specializing in low-cost, small framed posters, or art work that features your chosen ethnic groups country.

Truly, the world is your bonanza! Tapping into and creating ethnic space monopolies should be the goal of every ethnic marketing plan. Research, as well as fostering close relationships within your chosen group, will lead to a successful business in previously untouched markets. Learn to deeply communicate, even if this means learning another language!

If you talk to a man in a language he understands,
that goes to his head. If you talk to a man in his
own language, that goes to his heart.

~Nelson Mandela

787 words

How To Create Products That Are Useful To Users And

How To Create Products That Are Useful To Users And Their Culture, Part II:
Getting Your Web Site And Products Ready To Meet The World!

There are many things that can only be understood by those who reside in a specific area. What’s more, when the people of a certain culture meet head-on with people from another culture, there can be a great deal of misinterpretation between them.

Using sociological jargon, this can be categorized as a cultural clash. This happens when people from separate cultures try to communicate ideas without taking into consideration, the cultural differences that exist between them. When we as online entrepreneurs take on the challenge of globalizing our business, it is essential that we always keep in mind the value of communication. Sound communication will solve most problems in your daily business.

The World Wide Web enables a global delivery of products and services, as well as enabling better communication among users from different cultures and languages from all over the world. Many efforts are presently being made to assist in the variations among Internet users, such as cultural conventions and languages. We, as Web businesses, have to involve ourselves in these efforts as well. Whether we design and develop our own sites, or whether we hire that out, we do need to be a part of the creation of the model. Specifically, if we really want our Web sites to be enjoyed and used by visitors from different cultures, worldwide — we must adapt our sites to those users.

So what can we do to evaluate and optimize our products for approval in other cultures? Other cultures can adopt or reject the product that sells well at home — consumers in assorted cultures may use a product in many different ways and different perspectives. The first thing that needs to be done, once youve analyzed the situation for a particular area, is to take that information to your Web site. In some cases, this wont mean a lot of change. But in other areas, your site will most likely need substantial changes to meet the localized needs.

Many usability issues appear when our Web sites are accessed by users from other cultures. The thing we really need is multicultural Web sites which are very different from multi-lingual. This is rarely just an issue of language or translation — we need something more universally usable.

Consider the impact of culture on the understanding and the use of your site. Pay close attention to your own culture orientations. This will lead to a higher understanding of the preferred structures and interfaces for other cultures. Analyze the preferences, needs, wants, and expectations of visitors from different cultures. This will be your pathway from just cross-cultural theories — to a genuine cross-cultural relationship.

Think internationally! Decide whether it will be better for international users to visit your original Web site or a local one. Get to know everything you can about your users. Know their characteristics, environment, intentions, their typical levels of education, and their patterns of interaction. Take care when you decide about words or phrases, symbols, graphics, and colors. What is suitable for a western culture might have a seriously different meaning for users from other cultures.

Your best-practices solution would be to adapt your original site to accommodate as many different cultures as possible. Yes, a big task! But, once accomplished, your global doorway will present itself astonishingly well in your chosen locations.

When everybody involved in the product development and local branding has a basic understanding of the cultures of your particular locations, cultural literacy (we are knowledgeable and we trust our knowledge) will influence every important decision concerning the markets in your global areas. Cultural literacy could be defined as having developed the ability to stand in somebody elses shoes, or to see and comprehend through his eyes.

These are evolutionary ideas for 21st century business!

653 words