By Dana Lindahl

4 Fashion Must Haves  -- - and How to Care for Them

Thanks to modern technology, it’s never been easier to get in touch with people and small businesses across the globe. While just a couple of decades ago calling someone across the world incurred obscene long distance rates, today you can make video calls for free with a plethora of apps and solutions to keep you connected.

This poses an interesting question for small businesses: When is it time to expand into the global market?

The answer is certainly not the same for all businesses. Some are able to flourish in one location because of their focus on serving a certain demographic at a local level. A specialty coffee shop in a small town, for example, may not do nearly as well in a hip area of the city -- and they may end up throwing their money away by trying.

At the same time, many small businesses have absolutely no logical reason to operate solely at a local level. This is especially true for businesses that offer digital products or serve the large majority of their customers over the web.

For example, let’s say a company offers on-call computer repairs for customers in Oklahoma. That small business is growing steadily, but when they take a look at the numbers, they notice something interesting: 80 percent of their customers don’t actually require house calls. Their computer problems can be fixed remotely by connecting through customer service tickets via email.

This is the perfect type of small business to expand geographically. A company like this might even consider not offering house calls at all anymore. While they may lose 20 percent of their business by no longer offering that service, the potential upside is even larger. Once our hypothetical computer repair store begins focusing solely on remote jobs and repairs, expansion can be immediate and aggressive. There is no reason to market only to Oklahoma. Their coverage could instead target all over the U.S., or even the rest of the world.

In the end, giving up that 20 percent of sales allows this small business to double down on what’s easier to deliver. So even if they only focus on the United States, they are opening themselves up to 49 more states all at once -- all with computer problems which need solving.

Of course, the big question that remains for small business owners is whether or not geographic expansion falls in line with their goals. Some business owners are perfectly happy to operate at a local level, because it lets them stay intimately connected with their customers, which makes them happier than increasing profits would.

Take a cold, hard look at your business, and ask yourself whether or not expanding globally would be beneficial or not. Start by figuring out how dependent your business is on its current location. If it’s highly location-dependent, trying to expand globally might only serve to make things more complicated for everyone involved.

If your business is not location-dependent, then there might be a great opportunity to expand things on a global level. Keep in mind though, that while you might make more money serving customers globally, this may not sit well with your currently loyal, local customers. Some business will decide to stay local and keep their customers happy close to home. Others will choose to expand and make more money. Some will manage to do both efficiently.

Which one will your business be?

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How to Expand Your Small Business Globally