Thursday, March 13, 2014

Think Digital, Go Global

Think Digital, Go GlobalEvery business should be thinking about "going global".

That doesn't necessarily mean you need to start selling online or try to reach the entire world. But it does mean using the power of the Internet to reach further than ever before. Almost every business can take advantage of this in some way, and if you're a speaker, trainer, coach, consultant or other thought leader, it's essential, not just optional.

You might think "going global" means reaching out to the entire world, but that's (ironically!) a limited mindset. Instead, think of this as taking advantage of the digital (online) world. For example, running a training course by webinar potentially gives you global reach, but it's valuable even if it saves you from domestic travel.

Here are five things you can do to take advantage of the digital world.

1. Buy global.

Online shopping - both at a national and international level - has grown dramatically in the last few years (about $15 billion in Australia last year). Of course, this puts pressure on bricks-and-mortar retailers, but it's a boon for consumers. If you haven't started buying online, you don't know what you're missing! It's efficient, convenient, reliable, and very affordable.

Buying online can also mean switching to digital goods rather than physical goods: Kindle e-books rather than printed books, MP3 music rather than CDs, online subscriptions rather than physical boxes.

2. Hire global.

You probably won't move entire departments offshore like large organisations do, but you can take advantage of outsourcing to do this at a smaller scale. Sites like Elance, oDesk and Fiverr (called "talent markets") make it easy for you to get specialised work done by experienced professionals around the world. Don't start with mission-critical, difficult, or highly sensitive tasks. Start small to dip your toes in the water, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is.

More about outsourcing here ....

3. Sell global.

If you sell any products directly to clients, also promote them on your Web site and make them available for sale there. Even if you never make any online sales, it helps position you as an expert, and provides a starting point for negotiating sales with your corporate clients.

You don't need a fancy (and expensive) shopping cart and payment system to take the orders. Just use PayPal to get started, and you can replace that with a more sophisticated system later if needed.

4. Serve global.

Your core business might be delivering your material in person - at a training course, in a seminar, as a conference keynote presenter, or at a coaching session. Keep doing that, but also consider how you could make some of this material available online. This will supplement the work you're already doing for clients, and might eventually turn into a completely independent online product.

For example, many infopreneurs and thought leaders are now building a "membership site": a resource centre full of downloadable products and digital services in their area of expertise. If you have a membership site, you can offer it to your existing clients or sell it as a stand-alone product to others.

5. Live global.

You can't succeed online without spending some time there. That doesn't mean you have to spend every waking minute on Facebook and Twitter. But you should be familiar and comfortable with the sort of technology your clients and audiences use - Facebook, smartphones, webinars, video conferencing, LinkedIn, whatever. Even if you're not using these tools to promote or sell, at least understand them from a user's perspective.

So ... Attend more webinars. Buy and read e-books. Spend some time on Facebook. Start a mastermind group that meets by video conference. Whatever.

What are YOU doing to go global?

Which of these ideas could you use in your business? I hope you can use all five to some extent, and some more than others. Don't hold back because you don't know how! Instead, start small to get the experience, and then expand as needed.


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