“If people aren’t calling you crazy, you aren’t thinking big enough.” – Richard Branson
There’s an old parable where six blind men who’ve never encountered an elephant have to conceptualize what the elephant is like by feeling it. The leg is a pillar, the tail a rope, and the trunk a branch, yet they are never able to capture it as a whole. Small business teams often make the same mistake – they focus on their local market, environment, and target audience and fail to think global.
CEO and Founder of OnePageCRM, Michael FitzGerald is on a UK-wide road trip. Visiting customers, SMEs and politicians he’s on a quest to champion the SMEs and deliver the message, “Now, more than ever, it’s time for small businesses in the UK to think global.
Wake up thinking global
We live in a connected world. A demonstration in the Middle East will have a sudden effect on oil prices at home. A local tweet can damage a company’s international reputation, and competition from foreign corporations is fierce. The small business can no longer afford to cling to domestic thinking. Local retailers lose out to global online businesses every day.
Global thinkers focus on the bigger picture or the grand scheme of things. With a population of just 4.7 million in Ireland – just 0.06 % of the global population – Irish entrepreneurs are forced to think global.
Ireland is a textbook example of a “small open economy” country. It is dynamic, flexible, and responsive to global demand. As it happens, countries that are small and heavily engaged in international trade and capital flows have been dealing with globalization long before it became a buzzword. The maintained exports in turbulent times are proof of that.
Operating internationally opens up a range of opportunities and ideas that you may not have seen if you had been restricting your horizons. New customers, new solutions, new partners, and new employee talent are the vital lifeblood of growing businesses, and they are all at our doorstep.
With a tiny domestic market, Irish entrepreneurs turn a perceived disadvantage into an advantage. With an uncertain future on the horizon, small businesses in the UK need to follow suit. A strong UK means a strong Ireland and it’s up to SMEs to lead the way.
Time for Change in the UK
Given the role of technology in the modern economy, many services are delivered digitally. Not surprisingly, Irish firms which make more sales online are more likely to export.
For an island economy, this route to foreign markets can and should be a game changer. With uncertain times ahead, the UK will need to become more outward-looking and think global. In Ireland, we understand the value of that— a strong UK means a strong Ireland.
Nevertheless, only one-quarter of Britain’s SMEs are currently ‘internationally active’. And a third consider reaching new markets as critical to their success.
It’s time for a change. To compete and thrive in the current economy, it’s time to embrace a new mindset; one that is global. A global approach is the key to sustained success. Fast-Growing SMEs are three times more likely to export than those in decline.
Why aren’t all SMEs thinking global? Is it fear of leaving their comfort zone or an absence of the necessary tools or skills to do so?
The CEO tour is about exploring these questions, in collaboration with other CEOs.
Verbalize, Visualize, Solve
Michael wants to sit down beside the key people in each company and learn from them. What drives them, what forms their sales process, and what gets in the way? A natural mentor and productivity master; his favorite tool is a whiteboard.
When the CEO comes to you
Meeting face-to-face captures attention, engages conversation, and drives productive collaboration. How often does the CEO take the time to come to your place of work? This road trip is about championing the SME and literally going the extra mile (2,400 approximately!).
The vehicle of choice is the Knaus C-Liner motorhome. Almost unique, it is one of only two models that ever came into the UK. The other is sandwiched between Jamiroquai’s 100+ collection of supercars.
The Man Behind the Wheel
Michael FitzGerald, Founder and CEO of OnePageCRM. Design Engineer by trade and a problem solver by nature. His strength is creating concepts that get to the heart of the ultimate user experience. His successful startup, OnePageCRM, now has over 10,000 global customers.
Michael is a GTD (Getting Things Done) man and productivity master. Creative, strategic, innovative, and ready for change and surprise.
The End Game
The goal of the CEO Tour is to shake up small businesses and encourage SMEs to think global.
May the road rise up to meet you.