I was in New York City recently attending an event at the W Hotel close by Times Square in midtown Manhattan. It’s a quirky place and one of its curiosities is that the elevators on the ground floor will only take you as far as the seventh floor where the lounge bar is situated. To get to the upper floors you must exit at the seventh and take a different elevator that starts there and takes you to the upper floors. It is in fact a very tangible manifestation of the adage “what got you here won’t get you there”.

Likewise, many businesses seem to be unable to get to the next level in their development and growth as if they were stuck on the wrong elevator and unable to find the next one that is going to take them to the top. What they are often missing is that to get to the next level, you have got to get off the track you are on and find a new one. However, many businesses appear to be unable or unwilling to do this.

Sometimes this is down to the complacency that comes from a certain level of success and comfort with what has always worked and sometimes it is a lack of know-how and ability. More often, however, it is a fear of the unknown and a reluctance to take calculated risk and almost never is it truly due to a lack of resource or capital.

Of course, the initiative that is going to take a specific business to the next level will vary from business to business and from time to time but might include things like:

  • Exploiting previously untapped opportunities in new market sectors
  • Developing new products and service offerings
  • Diversifying sourcing and selling into new international and regional markets
  • Developing new skills and capabilities within the workforce
  • Acquiring new capacity, infrastructure, equipment and technology

Take international diversification for instance. This is a tremendous and often underexploited opportunity for mid-sized businesses, particularly in the English-speaking world. Astonishingly, less than 1% of the 30 million companies in America are currently exporting. In Canada about only 10% of SMEs export while In the U.K. it is also just 10%. These are incredibly low figures when you consider that businesses that export are consistently more profitable, more productive and more likely to stay in business longer than those that don’t.

More astonishing still is that with advances in transport, supply chain and financial services as well as developments in information and communications technology it has never been easier or more economical to do business internationally. Getting past fear and perceived risk is the great barrier for SMEs in this endeavour, a barrier that can be easily overcome with dedication and determination to succeed combined with a robust strategy and implementation plan.

If you would like to formulate and implement an internationalization strategy to take your business to the next level, I would love to talk to you about how I can help you.

E: pdaly@albalogistics.com

M: +353 86 811 6030

Skype: albalogistics

© Patrick Daly 2017

21st Century Warehousing: Strategy and Operation

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