Multinational corporations gain enormous benefits with their global reach, including much larger talent and prospect pools and access to the best and most cost-effective resources. Now, digital technology enables small businesses to globalize operations by helping them recruit top employees, find new customers and broaden their supplier base.
Here are four ways you can reach beyond your local community to serve customers all over the planet.
1. Embrace the cloud
The Internet cloud is probably the single most powerful technology you can use to move your business onto the global stage. The cloud helps free you from a location-based computer system by moving your IT operations onto a virtual “cloud” of offsite servers. This can massively expand your computing capacity, allowing you to create a multitude of digital sites, services and products for people everywhere. The cloud can also instantaneously adapt to spikes in demand.
Scale isn’t the only advantage. A cloud service provider can also give you access to the most up-to-date business software systems. These can include communications and collaborative tools that allow you to interact with employees, customers and suppliers using any digital device, wherever they may be.
2. Start videoconferencing
A videoconferencing system lets you meet anyone on the planet without leaving your office. It gives you a greater ability to employ people anywhere so you can focus on attracting top talent rather than settling for a candidate who happens to live nearby. You can also engage with prospects and customers in any location.
Some videoconferencing systems include collaborative tools that allow your employees to work together as if they were in the same geographic space—for example, by updating a document in real time. Additionally, staff members don’t need to sit in a home office. They can participate from a laptop while waiting in an airport, or from a smartphone while walking down the street.
3. Go mobile
Many people around the world don’t own personal computers, but they do have mobile phones. Mobile phone connections now top 6 billion, according to a report by the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association. If you want to reach people on a global scale, it makes sense to reach them on the devices they use most.
Effective mobile marketing involves more than sending text messages and discount offers. Small businesses are increasingly creating mobile websites designed specifically for the small screens of handheld devices. They are also building smartphone apps to forge closer connections with prospects and customers and creating mobile barcodes, also known as QR codes, to establish instant links to their websites and other promotional Web pages.
4. Make your website search friendly
Your business probably won’t do worldwide advertising, but you can get a similar benefit if your website is easy to find. People anywhere in the world can use the Internet to learn about your products or services and quickly make a purchase.
The Internet provides a global and relatively inexpensive way to advertise. You can target pay-per-click search engine advertising to reach people in any location. For example, a Florida resort could target an ad to a part of Europe that had a particularly harsh winter. Use search engine optimization techniques to help increase the chances that your website will appear at the top of the rankings on search engines. Some Web hosting services can help with this.
By taking these four steps, your business can reach people anywhere. So why not get started now? AT&T offers tools and services to help globalize your small business, like AT&T’s cloud services and its Web Connect conferencing tools to reach customers and employees nearly anywhere in the world. Also consider AT&T’s mobile marketing solutions and SEO management tools to make sure you promote your business effectively the world over.