Why your business cares about the rest of the world….

I am often asked, “Why should I care about what’s happening in the rest of the world? Everything I need is right here.”  Well, the reality is that we live in an increasingly globalized world, whether we like it or not.  Just look at the tags on your clothes, and nine times out of ten you’ll find they have been made somewhere other than the United States.  But looking even deeper than that, changes in one country’s society or economy can affect the rest of the world—and frequently these changes start in the U.S.  For example, look at the company Starbucks.  This coffee company began as a small storefront at Pike Place Market in Seattle back in 1971.  Early on, the owners decided to create a space for conversation and community, a “third place” for anyone to enjoy a quality cup of coffee.  Not only did this business concept succeed across the U.S., but now Starbucks touts more than 5,500 stores in 50 countries.  I was working in Chile last year and learned there were 29 Starbucks locations in the capital Santiago alone! 

My point when it comes to you as a small business owner is that your next customer may not be down the street—they may be in another country across the ocean, speak another language, use a different currency, and come from a completely distinct culture.  But that customer sees the value in a product from the U.S. because they know it will be of the highest quality–we demand it! 

This month you have heard from my colleagues about the benefits of going global.  I couldn’t agree more—especially with an uncertain economic outlook for the U.S., now is the best time to become proactive at seeking out international markets for your product or service.  The UNF SBDC has two great opportunities for you to learn more about how to do this.  On Thursday January 30th we are holding the International Trade:  The Basics Workshop and on February 7th we’ll begin our 6-session International Trade Certificate Program series.  Check out our Register for Workshops page to register!

By Katie Arroyo
Katie Arroyo is the International Trade Specialist and Certified Global Business Professional for SBDC at UNF. She works with Florida small businesses to develop comprehensive, tailored international marketing plans as well as advise clients on every aspect of international market development and compliance.  Prior to working at UNF, Katie was an International Trade Specialist at the Oklahoma State University (OSU) International Trade Center-SBDC in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  
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