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Friday, September 04, 2009

Doing Business in a Global Economy by Frank Furness


Having spoken in numerous countries within the past 12 years, I have seen some massive changes. The global economic crisis driven by the greed of banks has bankrupted so many companies and many others are just fighting for survival.

Interestingly, countries like Australia, that are more conservative have not been hit as hard. Dubai, the showpiece of the world has come tumbling down in its quest to be bigger and better on borrowed money. Just an hour away, the small and conservative emirate of Abu Dhabi is enjoying growth as it has not relied on other people’s money.

In my travels I see huge growth in countries like China and India. On a recent tour of Iran and Saudi Arabia, I also noticed massive growth, but the biggest noticeable factor was the number of young entrepreneurs that are now running successful businesses.

The other noticeable change is that the successful companies have been totally customer focussed. They are solution based organisations and sell value instead of products or services.

Many ‘order takers’ have been exposed and those individuals and companies that are actively providing great customer care as well as constantly looking for new business are the survivors.

The most successful sales people are those who have made the change to think and act like business people and have learned to communicate at all levels.

There are a number of other factors affecting the global economy:

Social – behaviours, tastes and lifestyles of the countries as well as their cultures. Buying patterns are influenced by changes in structure of population and consumer changes.
• Age
• Religion
• Culture
• Language
• Lifestyle patterns
• Body language


Legal - Awareness of consumer protection legislation, environmental legislation, health and safety and employment law.

Economic - This is a huge factor presently.
• State of economy will determine business factors
• Trends in business
• Demand of products or services
• Interest rates
• Wages
• Inflation
• Ability to pay
• Financial stability

Political - Again a big driver. When I spoke in Iran, there is a massive drive from the young entrepreneurs to expand their businesses globally, but this is marred by the political situation and regulations. Interestingly, a South African phone provider recognised an opportunity and is now the second biggest phone company in Iran. Other factors include:
• EU derivatives and regulations
• Spending power
• Government Policies
• Stability

Technology – My other business is an internet marketing company with 60 websites and in the past 10 years I have seen massive changes. The emergence of Social Networking is having a huge impact on business and providing global opportunities. Other advantages include:
• Huge volumes of information can be shared
• Cost reductions and improvements in service i.e. 24 hour call centres worldwide
• Competitive advantage – information is freely available
• Easier communication with customers anywhere in the world
• Buyer profiles changing – much younger and internet savvy
• Communication in different ways – audio, video, forums

What does this mean?

The global market has become more competitive. Similar products and pricing will result in organisations having to:
• Differentiate
• Sell value
• Create the ultimate customer experience
• Sell to customers the way they buy
• Move from sales to business people
• Teamwork at all levels - knowing everyone on the team and the competition
• Global teamwork and communication at all levels.
• Share ideas, best practice, resource and network
• Develop creative leadership
• Pro-actively seize opportunities
• Set goals and achieve success

Frank Furness CSP CFP TOT is a professional speaker and consultant specialising in sales & technology. He has educated, entertained and inspired audiences globally.

For more information or to sign up for the free ‘Sales Tips & Ideas’ newsletter, email frank@frankfurness.com and for resources take a look at http://www.frankfurness.com/ and http://www.frankfurnessresources.com/

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