Chapter 18 Global Opportunities for Small Business

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1 CHAPTER OUTLINE Spotlight: PharmaSecure, Inc. (http://www.pharmasecure.com) 1 Small Businesses as Global Enterprises Describe the potential of small firms as global enterprises. Globalization The expansion of international business, encouraged by converging market preferences, falling trade barriers, and the integration of national economies National economies were isolated Trend toward convergence of economies to form global economic system Born-global firms Growing number with cross-border business activities in mind Important for owner to determine if the company can handle additional effort Must study political, cultural, and economic forces in the foreign markets to determine how to adapt products and ensure smooth entry (Exhibit 18-1 Questions to Consider Before Going Global) 2 Forces Driving Global Businesses Identify the basic forces prompting small firms to engage in global expansion. Motivation to go global Globalization is risky Global challengers must be met through innovation Exhibit 18-2 Basic Forces Driving Global Enterprises Expanding markets Cutting costs Gaining access to resources Capitalizing on special features of the location Expanding Markets Countries Targeted Those with the greatest commercial potential Exhibit 18-3 BRIC Markets Products Promoted Products that sell at home are likely to be introduced very quickly abroad Highly specialized products Making the Most of Experience Experience curve efficiencies per-unit savings gained from the repeated production of the same product. Learning effects insights gained from experience, that lead to improved work performance Economies of scale efficiencies that result from expansion of production Gaining Access to Resources Traditionally for raw materials Increasingly the focus is on skilled labor 191

2 International outsourcing a strategy that involves accessing foreign labor through contracts with independent providers Offshoring a strategy that involves relocating operation abroad Cutting Costs Raw materials, labor, and manufacturing overhead Through relocation Capitalizing on Special Features of Location Unique features of local environment may be a benefit of the location Appeal of regional free trade areas Small businesses sometimes follow large client firms to their new locations 3 Strategy Options for Global Firms Understand and compare strategy options for global businesses. Exporting selling products produced in the home country to customers in another country Internet caused growth in exporting Exporting very challenging Communicating in other languages Translating payments to other currencies International shipping Exhibit 18-4 Strategy Options for Global Enterprises Importing selling products produced in another country to buyers in the home country Product from overseas that has market potential at home Link up with vendors at international trade shows Most important factor for success is finding a good product vendor Global outsourcing guidelines Learn about culture and business practices of the country to avoid making deal-breaking mistakes Do research and select a source that is not a competitor or a company that hope to compete against you in the future Protect your intellectual property Carefully form a relationship with a sourcing partner Work out transportation logistics ahead of time Foreign Licensing allowing a company in another country to purchase the rights to manufacture and sell a company s products in international markets Licensee the company buying licensing rights Licensor the company selling licensing rights Royalties fees paid by the licensee to the licensor for each unit produced under a licensing contract Counterfeit activity the unauthorized use of intellectual property International Franchising selling a standard package of products, systems, and management services to a company in another country Variation on licensing theme Especially popular with U.S. restaurant chains 192

3 International Strategic Alliances a combination of efforts an/or assets of companies indifferent countries for the sake of pooling resources and sharing the risks of an enterprise Used by small companies to gain advantage internationally Allows sharing of risks Locating Facilities Abroad Overseas sales office Cross-border acquisition the purchase by a business in one country of a company located in another country Greenfield venture a wholly owned subsidiary formed from scratch in another country Often difficult to set up 4 Challenges to Global Businesses Explain the challenges that global enterprises face. Political Risk the potential for political forces in a country to negatively affect the performance of businesses operating within its borders Exhibit 18-5 Ease of Doing Business Risk may be related to instability of a nation s government Economic Risk the probability that a country s government will mismanage its economy in ways that hinder the performance of firms operating there Foreign economy may affect the business environment adversely Exchange rates the value of one country s currency relative to that of another country The Ease of Doing Business Index Underscores to businesses and government the large impact that regulatory conditions have on economic growth and development 5 Assistance for Global Enterprises Recognize the sources of assistance available to support international business efforts. Analyzing Markets and Planning Strategy Finding international markets that fit the company s unique potentials Creating a game plan for entry into the targeted markets Connecting with International Customers Trade Leads Trade Mission- a trip organized to help small business owners meet with potential foreign buyers and establish strategic alliances in an international market Trade Intermediaries an agency that distributes a company s products on a contract basis to customer in another country Financing Perhaps biggest barrier to international expansion Private Banks Letter of credit an agreement issued by a bank to honor a draft or other demand for payment when specified conditions are met Bill of lading a document indicating that a product has been shipped and the title to that product has been transferred Small Business Administration 193

4 Valuable information from SBA Extensive list of financial assistance programs SOURCES OF VIDEO AND OTHER INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS The Fire Within is Program 1, a DVD from the series entitled Venturing: The Entrepreneurial Challenge, Produced by Vermont ETV. The program introduces the concept of entrepreneurship and discusses the qualities and capabilities frequently found in entrepreneurs: passion, the ability to embrace and welcome risks, persistence, commitment, desire, self-confidence, good business skills, and the ability to delegate. Direct your students to watch the Q&A videos on two home-based business at Also, a selection of articles, blogs, and videos on various aspects of entrepreneurship are available at ANSWERS TO END-OF-CHAPTER DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. What is a born-global enterprise? What factors are encouraging the increase in the number of these companies? 194 A born-global enterprise is a small companies started with cross-border business activities in mind. The Internet has increased efficient global communication, trade agreements open foreign markets to competition, and expanding networking options are some of the factors encouraging the increase in born-global enterprises. 2. Discuss the importance of a careful cultural analysis to a small firm that wishes to enter an international market. The chapter discusses how costly mistakes are made when firms do not understand the cultural characteristics of a foreign market. Students may respond to this question using examples from the textbook. 3. Do you believe that small companies should engage in international business? Why or why not? This is a question that obviously calls for an opinion, so responses will vary. However, the chapter points out that going global can provide many benefits such as expanding markets, cutting costs, gaining access to resources, and capitalizing on special features of location. These are strong incentives. Furthermore, "born

5 global" and other internationalized small businesses have shown that small firms are often up to the task, so the arguments against going global clearly would need to be qualified. 4. Identify the four basic forces driving small businesses to enter the global business arena. Which do you think is the most influential? The four basic forces driving small firms to internationalize are the appeal of (1) expanding markets, (2) cutting costs, (3) gaining access to resources, and (4) capitalizing on the special features of location. No strong evidence exists to suggest that one of these is more important than the others in drawing small firms into the global business arena, so opinions may vary. Nonetheless, students are likely to focus on market issues and thus may lean toward expanding markets as the most influential force. 5. Give examples of some emerging motivations persuading small business owners to go global. Are any of these motivations likely to remain powerful forces ten years from now? Twenty years from now? Several shifts seem to be emerging in the forces driving firms to globalize. Whereas firms once did this to extend the product life cycle, now the push is on to find buyers for specialized products. Cost cutting was accomplished by internationalizing to reduce labor and transportation costs, but obtaining tariff reductions seems to be a stronger motivation in recent times. In the old economy, accessing raw materials was a great motivation, but this seems to be giving way to a search for human resources in the new economy. Finally, tapping the unique features of a foreign location continues to be an important goal of internationalizing firms, but following large client firms as they locate abroad seems to be an emerging motivation for small firms. These trends are likely to continue for the next 10 years, but all bets are off when projecting out so far as 20 years. 6. Why is exporting the most popular global strategy among small businesses? Do you think this should be the case? Exporting is popular among small firms because it represents a way to get into the global game with minimal costs and commitment of resources. It also offers other advantages such as promoting business in the domestic market. Thus, exporting is a good way for small firms to get their international feet wet. However, the alternatives hold great potential and should not be overlooked. Indeed, many small firms that have been exporting for some time may have passed over more resourceintensive options that they could manage to try and that offer greater profit potential. Furthermore, those that have not attempted to open avenues in foreign licensing and international franchising may be leaving money on the table from markets that the firm will never be able to exploit in any other way. These alternatives obviously require various investments from the firm (time, capital, managerial attention, etc.), so there are limits to what can be done in all cases. 195

6 7. What impact has the Internet had on the globalization of small firms? How do you think small companies will use the Internet for business in the future? Obviously, the Web has opened up new opportunities for small companies that want to penetrate international markets. It provides cheap access to consumers around the world, at least for those who have access to the Internet. The ways in which small firms will use the Web in the future is a matter of speculation. Students should be encouraged to pursue this avenue of thought, but there are few definite answers. 8. What non-export strategies can small businesses adopt? In view of the unique needs and capabilities of small firms, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each of these strategies? Foreign licensing, international franchising, international strategic alliances, and establishing an international presence (e.g., cross-border acquisitions, greenfield ventures) are possible alternatives to exporting for small firms. Foreign licensing may offer the small firm the easiest and quickest alternative but does require it to give up a great deal of control. International franchising offers drawbacks and benefits similar to foreign licensing, but involves only service-based firms. International strategic alliances are more complex but may offer certain advantages that result from sharing risks and pooling resources. Finally, establishing an international presence yields the greatest control for the firm, but the cost of such an operation places this option out of reach for most small firms, except perhaps where overseas operations are focused in one or a few markets. 9. What are the three main challenges small businesses face when they go global? What strategies can a small company use to deal with each of these challenges? First, small firms must take into account political risk. To deal with this risk, small firms can take a number of approaches, such as avoiding the country or passing the risk along to a third party through various forms of insurance. Second, economic risk can have a significant impact on the success of small firms involved in international business. The most apparent impact from this risk comes in the form of currency exchange rate fluctuations, and small firms can deal with this risk by taking contracts in US dollars or using buy-forward contracts and other financial instruments with which a knowledgeable banker can assist. Finally, small firms will continue to run up against managerial limitations. Many questions will arise that relate to products, marketing, financial strategy, management, accounting systems, legal issues, etc. Small firms can take care of these by going slowly and learning along the way through trial-and-error (hoping to limit losses along the way) or they can get assistance from various services that are available through the SBA or by employing the services of trade intermediaries and consulting firms. 196

7 10. What forms of assistance are available to small global firms? Which is likely to be of greatest benefit to small companies? Why? Many forms of assistance are available, including materials and advice provided by government agencies (such as the SBA) or visiting with first-hand observers--these can help with market analysis and strategic planning. Small businesses can connect with international customers through published trade leads (many available online), by joining trade missions, or by using the services of a trade intermediary. Financing is another serious hurdle to internationalization, but sources such as private banks and the SBA are available to help. None of these should be overlooked. However, the sources of information and assistance from the government will probably provide the greatest benefit because they are relatively comprehensive (i.e., the government provides support to deal with just about any problem that may be encountered) and inexpensive, if not free. COMMENTS ON CHAPTER YOU MAKE THE CALL SITUATIONS Situation 1 1. What additional information would be helpful to Aburto as he ponders this decision? As Aburto considers moving to another country he must consider such things as political risk. For example, how stable an environment exists in the two locations? As the students look at Exhibit 18-5 Country Risk Rankings Map, they should see that Mexico is considered in the least risky category while India is considered moderately risky. Economic risk is another consideration that must be examined. With the U.S. in a rather shaky situation itself, this factor could be even more important in decision-making. The managerial limitations may affect much more of the firm than the overseas functions and should be considered carefully. For example, in the finance category, how will the additional expenses for travel between the two countries affect the rest of Aburto s business expenses? 2. What additional advantages and disadvantages can you think of that Aburto should consider when choosing between offshoring this work to India and nearshoring it to Mexico? Small companies doing business in other locations (offshore or nearshore) will face advantages and disadvantages in both locations. For this example, India provides a pool of well-trained employees who expect very low wages and who have technical skills. In Mexico skilled workers are available and travel will be less expensive. In terms of disadvantages, travel costs and working between time zones along with the cultural gap affect the connection with India (although most educated workers speak English in India). In Mexico, wages are significantly higher, but once you hire staff laws in Mexico make it difficult to fire these people. Other questions in 197

8 the text that might be helpful as Aburto examines the two locations should deal with government restrictions that might hinder the planned product, will the product be sold in international markets and if so how will market research be conducted (from that location?), how cash flow will be affected by the location, how government policy (in both the U.S. and the other country) will affect capital transfers, whether local laws will allow profits to be sent back to the U.S. from the foreign market, whether barter or other forms of countertrade will be necessary to do business and other consideration that deal with management, accounting and legal issues. 3. Which location would you choose India or Mexico? Be sure to build a strong case for your final decision. This will be individual to each student. However, the student should build a case that is strong and considers all the possibilities listed above as well as the other country information suggested within the chapter. Situation 2 1. What types of businesses would prosper in China? Why? 198 China offers opportunities for small businesses that produce goods as well as those that provide services. Small manufacturers in certain high technology industries, including wireless telecommunications and computers, may find success in China. Large businesses tend to dominate the hardware side of telecommunications and computers, though, so small businesses may be successful by providing components, peripherals, or supporting equipment. This may be done by partnering with large firms with established brands or by selling these items directly to consumers. The demand for consulting services in China is high. Small businesses with knowledgeable employees who can provide consulting, training, or information technology services have numerous opportunities in the market. Since China is shifting further toward a free market economy and has even joined the World Trade Organization, Chinese firms (privately-owned and state-owned) are seeking greater understanding of Western business practices. Chinese firms are hiring Western firms for training and consultation. 2. What are the challenges and risks associated with doing business in China? Small companies doing business in China face a number of challenges and risks. While the potential upside of the Chinese market is its large size, the income levels in China are lower. Businesses must therefore consider the actual size of the potential market rather than the size of China s population. If producing or selling goods, particularly ones that are tied to brand image or brand names, the potential for counterfeiting must be recognized. Language and cultural differences pose additional problems. Business practices differ significantly in China, compared to

9 the U.S. Another challenge, which is related to and complicated by language and cultural differences, is building relationships with key constituents (e.g., customers, government agencies, distributors, suppliers). Guanxi (or connections) are close links between friends and relatives that have developed over many years. In many cases, these connections are critical to success when conducting business in China. 3. What steps should Moss take to address these challenges and risks in order to increase his chance of success in the market? There are a number of approaches to addressing the language and cultural differences. The ideal way to bridge the language gap is to speak the language. Unless a company has employees who already speak Chinese, however, there may not be sufficient time to learn a new language before entering the market. Small businesses can hire translators or may hire new employees who speak Chinese. Education and training can help businesses and employees to understand cultural issues and differences. This is likely to make the employees more aware of such differences, but they may not be fully equipped to address these differences. Forming a strategic partnership with a Chinese firm may help overcome language and cultural barriers. In addition, partnerships can facilitate market entry if the chosen partner has already established relationships with distributors, target customers, and others needed to conduct business in China. Finding a partner and negotiating a partnership agreement, in itself, may prove a challenge for small businesses. However, small businesses can draw on their existing relationships with other businesses and governmental agencies that have already developed ties in China. One goal for Moss in forming such a partnership should be to begin to develop his own relationships with Chinese customers, suppliers, and distributors. He must also remember that patience is required for doing business in China. Results may not come immediately. Situation 3 1. In your opinion, what new country markets would be likely to hold the greatest potential for additional sales for Friedman s company? Answers will vary on this but might include: Tapping into high density Christian based countries (South America, Some European countries, Canada, etc.) 2. Of the major strategy options mentioned in this chapter, which is Holy Land Earth currently following? Which of the others would offer the safest path to further global expansion? Which would offer the fastest path to such growth? Which would offer the best path? Why? 199

10 Holy Land Earth is currently an importer of soil. In order to diversify and gain market share, they may consider exporting their product to the countries mentioned above. They may also consider locating facilities abroad if they determine there is enough demand for their product. If they are looking for a fast growth path they may consider forging an international strategic alliance with a small company to gain a competitive advantage. Both companies will share the risk of failure and cost challenges but this would be the quickest form of entry for Holy Land Earth into a foreign market. What are the greatest challenges Friedman is likely to face in the future? What sources of assistance would you suggest that he use as he takes on those challenges? Friedman may likely face Political risk (instability of a nation s government in the country he is doing business) and Economic risk (economic market factors could have a severe impact on his business). To minimize these problems Friedman should conduct a thorough analysis of the markets he would like to penetrate. In fact, he may need to pay an expert to do this analysis for him. Based on these findings he will need to develop a thorough entry, operational, and exit strategy. Planning will be his best resource for success in this venture. SUGGESTED SOLUTION TO CASE 18: SMARTER.COM 1. What is the primary force that motivated Tsao and his partner to internationalize? Did they make a good decision when they relocated their software development operations to China? What other countries should have been considered? Why? Tsao and his partner expanded to China based on the need to expand their website and decided inexpensive labor could make the difference between making a profit and shutting down the business. Tsao and his partner should have more closely examined the cost of moving the business to China. They were surprised by the additional 40% cost of doing business there. In addition legal hurdles, security issues, and the foreign workplace culture, which surprised them, should have been discovered before moving. Tsao mistakenly determined that he knew much about the China scene because his parents were from China and he know Mandarin and Shanghaiese dialects and thought he knew how to navigate Eastern business culture. Two other countries that might have been useful to explore are 1) India, where English is spoken and might have been easier to understand and deal with, and 2) the Ukraine that the partners thought they had grown beyond but perhaps could have trained the workers to a higher standard (since they were already doing business in that location). 200

11 2. What global strategy option did Tsao and O Neill select for their move to China? Did they choose the right strategy? The global strategy might have been less stressful if the partners had examined the four sets of questions to consider before going global (see Exhibit 18-1 on page 467 in the chapter0 which include questions in the areas of management objectives, management experience and resources, production capacity, and financial capacity. The strategy options listed in the chapter were locating facilities abroad, exporting, importing, foreign licensing, international franchising, and international strategic alliances. Tsao and his partner chose to locate their facilities abroad because Tsao had roots in China because his parents had emigrated from China. Their global strategy option was based on cutting costs, however, they didn t explore the Chinese legal hurdles, security issues, and foreign workplace culture extensively before quickly moving there. Once Tsao had hired the first set of workers he was surprised to discover another 40 percent expense in expenses that had to be covered although the amount was not in the budget. In addition he learned that workers in China had a strategy of taking a job, quitting that job and taking another job in a company with a better position, on a quick turnaround basis. He they had to deal with such things as meal subsidies, hiring a staff trainer, a quarterly fun budget, and learning how to get employees to provide their opinions. The strategy was a good strategy, but need to have more research before the partners jumped in with both feet. 3. Do you think Tsao s adjusting his management style will make a difference in the performance of his new workforce in China? What do you think he did right? What do you think he did wrong? What recommendations do you have for Tsao that would help him improve the performance of the Shanghai office? Tsao s adjustments appear to meet the needs of the Chinese workforce. He has learned to ask employees questions to get opinions. In addition, rather than bonus incentives (expensive), he now provides public praising. Tsao appears to have adjusted to the workplace by providing perks that are the norm for quality companies in China, making the company more attractive to present and future employees. Tsao erred in going to China thinking he knew the workplace without exploring it first. Tsao apparently has made a good start on the Shanghai location. Students should provide their suggestions for improving the performance of the office and will probably have suggestions based on their experiences and background. One suggestion might be to continue to research the possibilities for expanding the company in Shanghai and continuing the work with present employees to maintain the workforce for longer periods of time to avoid constantly training new employees. NOTE: The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, 1982, could be useful here with the One Minute Praising process. 201

12 4. Given the details of this case and other key facts that you know about China, assess the opportunities for U.S. firms in China. What features of the country should be particularly attractive to small businesses that are seeking to expand internationally? Companies planning or considering moving to China should consider the differences in the workplace that were discovered by Tsao and O Neill. Several areas of difference were discovered once Tsao moved to China and these would have been very good to know before moving. For example, the increased costs that the budget had to cover for employee expense a 40% increase is a large investment when not considered beforehand. In addition, the political climate in China must be considered before moving. The company ranking with regard to risk is important as a business could easily set up shop and lose its investment if the political climate is not considered. In addition, the political climate can change rapidly and that aspect should be considered carefully. 5. What challenges to doing business in China did Tsao experience? List any issues that may present distinct problems for other small U.S. firms that may want to do business there. The challenges include the 40% increase in expenses, the constant requirement for training new employees, the meal subsidy for lunches, the need for a staff trainer to coach employees, the quarterly fun budget, the difference in responding to questions due to employee reticence. Small firms probably would find employee turnover and the increase in expenses the aspects that could be the most troubling. 202

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