Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Top Languages by GDP | Globalization Group, Inc. | The Global Edge!™

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to Get an Influencer's Attention » Techipedia | Tamar Weinberg

10 Global Mindset Links :The Cross-cultural Connector

In this blog, we’ll be talking a lot about The Global Mindset, because it is the pre requisite, the sine qua non if you want to successfully define and implement your cross-cultural communication strategy

Meanwhile, we’d like to share with you these links to great websites and articles on the topic.

Your Comments?

Amadou M. Sall

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“The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Small Business Owners” :The Cross-cultural Connector

Have you ever wondered why some very smart people don’t do so well in business? And how other people with moderate intelligence succeed beyond their wildest dreams?

A lot of success has nothing to do with standard intelligence but rather with what’s called Emotional Intelligence (EI). Emotional intelligence, according to Merriam Webster, “describes the ability, capacity, skill or, in the case of the trait, to identify, assess, and manage the emotions of one’s self, of others, and of groups.”

Or put in layman’s terms, emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand and work with your own emotions and the emotions of others. It’s intuition, compassion, empathy and the ability to analyze these emotions successfully that can make or break a small business owner’s success.

For example, negotiation often takes the ability to listen, to understand where a person is coming from, to put yourself in their shoes so to speak, and then to come up with a creative solution that results in a win/win for both parties. This can’t be accomplished with book knowledge alone – it requires emotional intelligence. (Read the whole story)

Emotional Intelligence is one of the abilities, capacities, and skills that are absolutely necessary for successful communication, including of course cross-cultural communication. One might even say it’s more important in the case of cross-cultural communication, because it can really help you deal with language and other cultural “barriers”

Your experience?

Amadou M. Sall

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Seth's Blog: Maybe you need new friends

Real world friends are hard to find and hard to change.

But virtual friends?

If your online friends aren't egging you on...

If your online friends don't spread the word about the work you're doing...

If your online friends aren't respectfully challenging your deeply held beliefs...

If your online friends don't demand the best from you...

Then perhaps you need new online friends.

Save to (5 saves, tagged: sethgodin)Digg This!Email thisSubscribe to this feedShare on Facebook

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Facebook Page link is OK now, at last :-)

Have you seen my Facebook Page? The link is OK now! Click to fan :-)

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Cultural Competence

Saturday, March 27, 2010

“Rebound in World Trade Is Seen” :The Cross-cultural Connector

Led by economic growth in China and India, world trade is projected to expand by 9.5 percent this year after shrinking by 12.2 percent last year in the sharpest contraction since World War II, the World Trade Organization said on Friday.

“We see the light at the end of the tunnel, and trade promises to be an important part of the recovery,” the organization’s director-general, Pascal Lamy, said. “But we must avoid derailing any economic revival through protectionism.”

Export declines last year were even greater in the United States (13.9 percent), the European Union (14.8 percent) and Japan (24.9 percent) than in the rest of the world. Shipments from China fell 10.5 percent.

The W.T.O. confirmed that China overtook Germany as the world’s top exporter of merchandise in 2009, accounting for almost 10 percent of global exports. China is second on the import side, with an 8 percent share of world imports compared to 13 percent for the United States.

The exports from developed countries are expected to rise by 7.5 percent this year, outpaced by an 11 percent increase projected for the rest of the world.

The W.T.O., which is trying to catalyze political support for the long-stalled Doha round of global trade negotiations, said its members had avoided imposing trade barriers in response to the crisis, but expressed concern that persistent unemployment “may intensify protectionist pressures.” (Read the Whole Story)

As a Global Player and cross-cultural marketer and communicator, you’re bound to find this article interesting! Now, tell us what you think, in the Comments section.

Amadou M. Sall

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“Rebound in World Trade Is Seen” :The Cross-cultural Connector

Led by economic growth in China and India, world trade is projected to expand by 9.5 percent this year after shrinking by 12.2 percent last year in the sharpest contraction since World War II, the World Trade Organization said on Friday.

“We see the light at the end of the tunnel, and trade promises to be an important part of the recovery,” the organization’s director-general, Pascal Lamy, said. “But we must avoid derailing any economic revival through protectionism.”

Export declines last year were even greater in the United States (13.9 percent), the European Union (14.8 percent) and Japan (24.9 percent) than in the rest of the world. Shipments from China fell 10.5 percent.

The W.T.O. confirmed that China overtook Germany as the world’s top exporter of merchandise in 2009, accounting for almost 10 percent of global exports. China is second on the import side, with an 8 percent share of world imports compared to 13 percent for the United States.

The exports from developed countries are expected to rise by 7.5 percent this year, outpaced by an 11 percent increase projected for the rest of the world.

The W.T.O., which is trying to catalyze political support for the long-stalled Doha round of global trade negotiations, said its members had avoided imposing trade barriers in response to the crisis, but expressed concern that persistent unemployment “may intensify protectionist pressures.” (Read the Whole Story)

As a Global Player and cross-cultural marketer and communicator, you’re bound to find this article interesting! Now, tell us what you think, in the Comments section.

Amadou M. Sall

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Facebook Page Tribulations :The Cross-cultural Connector

If you are one of my 2132 Facebook friends, or 4503 Twitter followers, or 2616 Linkedin contacts; if you read one or more of my other blogs (Posterous, Personal Development, Translator Power), then you must have heard of my Facebook Page problem. This is what happened: I have created a Facebook Page but I am totally unable to promote it, simply because the link to my page does not take you to the page. My Facebook friends tell me it takes them to… their own Facebook profile. The strange thing is that the link DOES take me to the page, and the consequence is that there is only one “fan” on my page, and that “fan” is… me!

Here are the links which should all take you to my Facebook Page, but which apparently do not. Many of my friends have clicked them, but “nothing doing”!

FBP3 (This is the link you have on The Cross-cultural Connector blog)

I have written to Facebook but there’s been no answer so far. What do you advise me to do?

Amadou M. Sall

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The Cultural Iceberg - An Analogy

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Martin Jacques: The global hierarchy of race | World news | The Guardian

I always found race difficult to understand. It was never intuitive. And the reason was simple. Like every other white person, I had never experienced it myself: the meaning of colour was something I had to learn. The turning point was falling in love with my wife, an Indian-Malaysian, and her coming to live in England. Then, over time, I came to see my own country in a completely different way, through her eyes, her background. Colour is something white people never have to think about because for them it is never a handicap, never a source of prejudice or discrimination, but rather the opposite, a source of privilege. However liberal and enlightened I tried to be, I still had a white outlook on the world. My wife was the beginning of my education.

But it was not until we went to live in Hong Kong that my view of the world, and the place that race occupies within it, was to be utterly transformed. Rather than seeing race through the prism of my own society, I learned to see it globally. When we left these shores, it felt as if we were moving closer to my wife's world: this was east Asia and she was Malaysian. And she, unlike me, had the benefit of speaking Cantonese. So my expectation was that she would feel more comfortable in this environment than I would. I was wrong. As a white, I found myself treated with respect and deference; my wife, notwithstanding her knowledge of the language and her intimacy with Chinese culture, was the object of an in-your-face racism.

In our 14 months in Hong Kong, I learned some brutal lessons about racism. First, it is not the preserve of whites. Every race displays racial prejudice, is capable of racism, carries assumptions about its own virtue and superiority. Each racism, furthermore, is subtly different, reflecting the specificity of its own culture and history.

Second, there is a global racial hierarchy that helps to shape the power and the prejudices of each race. At the top of this hierarchy are whites. The reasons are deep-rooted and profound. White societies have been the global top dogs for half a millennium, ever since Chinese civilisation went into decline. With global hegemony, first with Europe and then the US, whites have long commanded respect, as well as arousing fear and resentment, among other races. Being white confers a privilege, a special kind of deference, throughout the world, be it Kingston, Hong Kong, Delhi, Lagos - or even, despite the way it is portrayed in Britain, Harare. Whites are the only race that never suffers any kind of systemic racism anywhere in the world. And the impact of white racism has been far more profound and baneful than any other: it remains the only racism with global reach.

Being top of the pile means that whites are peculiarly and uniquely insensitive to race and racism, and the power relations this involves. We are invariably the beneficiaries, never the victims. Even when well-meaning, we remain strangely ignorant. The clout enjoyed by whites does not reside simply in an abstraction - western societies - but in the skin of each and every one of us. Whether we like it or not, in every corner of the planet we enjoy an extraordinary personal power bestowed by our colour. It is something we are largely oblivious of, and consequently take for granted, irrespective of whether we are liberal or reactionary, backpackers, tourists or expatriate businessmen.

The existence of a de facto global racial hierarchy helps to shape the nature of racial prejudice exhibited by other races. Whites are universally respected, even when that respect is combined with strong resentment. A race generally defers to those above it in the hierarchy and is contemptuous of those below it. The Chinese - like the Japanese - widely consider themselves to be number two in the pecking order and look down upon all other races as inferior. Their respect for whites is also grudging - many Chinese believe that western hegemony is, in effect, held on no more than prolonged leasehold. Those below the Chinese and the Japanese in the hierarchy are invariably people of colour (both Chinese and Japanese often like to see themselves as white, or nearly white). At the bottom of the pile, virtually everywhere it would seem, are those of African descent, the only exception in certain cases being the indigenous peoples.

This highlights the centrality of colour to the global hierarchy. Other factors serve to define and reinforce a race's position in the hierarchy - levels of development, civilisational values, history, religion, physical characteristics and dress - but the most insistent and widespread is colour. The reason is that colour is instantly recognisable, it defines difference at the glance of an eye. It also happens to have another effect. It makes the global hierarchy seem like the natural order of things: you are born with your colour, it is something nobody can do anything about, it is neither cultural nor social but physical in origin. In the era of globalisation, with mass migration and globalised cultural industries, colour has become the universal calling card of difference. In interwar Europe, the dominant forms of racism were anti-semitism and racialised nationalisms, today it is colour: at a football match, it is blacks not Jews that get jeered, even in eastern Europe.

Liberals like to think that racism is a product of ignorance, of a lack of contact, and that as human mobility increases, so racism will decline. This might be described as the Benetton view of the world. And it does contain a modicum of truth. Intermixing can foster greater understanding, but not necessarily, as Burnley, Sri Lanka and Israel, in their very different ways, all testify.

Hong Kong, compared with China, is an open society, and has long been so, yet it has had little or no effect in mollifying Chinese prejudice towards people of darker skin. It is not that racism is immovable and intractable, but that its roots are deep, its prejudices as old as humanity itself. The origins of Chinese racism lie in the Middle Kingdom: the belief that the Chinese are superior to other races - with the exception of whites - is centuries, if not thousands of years, old. The disparaging attitude among American whites towards blacks has its roots in slavery. Wishing it wasn't true, denying it is true, will never change the reality. We can only understand - and tackle racism - if we are honest about it. And when it comes to race - more than any other issue - honesty is in desperately short supply.

Race remains the great taboo. Take the case of Hong Kong. A conspiracy of silence surrounded race. As the British departed in 1997, amid much self-congratulation, they breathed not a word about racism. Yet the latter was integral to colonial rule, its leitmotif: colonialism, after all, is institutionalised racism at its crudest and most base. The majority of Chinese, the object of it, meanwhile, harboured an equally racist mentality towards people of darker skin. Masters of their own home, they too are in denial of their own racism. But that, in varying degrees, is true of racism not only in Hong Kong but in every country in the world. You may remember that, after the riots in Burnley in the summer of 2001, Tony Blair declared that they were not a true reflection of the state of race relations in Britain: of course, they were, even if the picture is less discouraging in other aspects.

Racism everywhere remains largely invisible and hugely under-estimated, the issue that barely speaks its name. How can the Economist produce a 15,000-word survey on migration, as it did last year, and hardly mention the word racism? Why does virtually no one talk about the racism suffered by the Williams sisters on the tennis circuit even though the evidence is legion? Why are the deeply racist western attitudes towards Arabs barely mentioned in the context of the occupation of Iraq, carefully hidden behind talk of religion and civilisational values?

The dominant race in a society, whether white or otherwise, rarely admits to its own racism. Denial is near universal. The reasons are manifold. It has a huge vested interest in its own privilege. It will often be oblivious to its own prejudices. It will regard its racist attitudes as nothing more than common sense, having the force and justification of nature. Only when challenged by those on the receiving end is racism outed, and attitudes begin to change. The reason why British society is less nakedly racist than it used to be is that whites have been forced by people of colour to question age-old racist assumptions. Nations are never honest about themselves: they are all in varying degrees of denial.

This is clearly fundamental to understanding the way in which racism is underplayed as a national and global issue. But there is another reason, which is a specifically white problem. Because whites remain the overwhelmingly dominant global race, perched in splendid isolation on top of the pile even though they only represent 17% of the world's population, they are overwhelmingly responsible for setting the global agenda, for determining what is discussed and what is not. And the fact that whites have no experience of racism, except as perpetrators, means that racism is constantly underplayed by western institutions - by governments, by the media, by corporations. Moreover, because whites have reigned globally supreme for half a millennium, they, more than any other race, have left their mark on the rest of humanity: they have a vested interest in denying the extent and baneful effects of racism.

It was only two years ago, you may remember, that the first-ever United Nations conference on racism was held - against the fierce resistance of the US (and that in the Clinton era). Nothing more eloquently testifies to the unwillingness of western governments to engage in a global dialogue about the problem of racism.

If racism is now more widely recognised than it used to be, the situation is likely to be transformed over the next few decades. As migration increases, as the regime of denial is challenged, as subordinate races find the will and confidence to challenge the dominant race, as understanding of racism develops, as we become more aware of other racisms like that of the Han Chinese, then the global prominence of racism is surely set to increase dramatically.

It is rare to hear a political leader speaking the discourse of colour. Robert Mugabe is one, but he is tainted and discredited. The Malaysian prime minister, Mahathir Mohamed, is articulate on the subject of white privilege and the global hierarchy. The most striking example by a huge margin, though, is Nelson Mandela. When it comes to colour, his sacrifice is beyond compare and his authority unimpeachable. And his message is always universal - not confined to the interests of one race. It is he who has suggested that western support for Israel has something to do with race. It is he who has hinted that it is no accident that the authority of the UN is under threat at a time when its secretary general is black. And yet his voice is almost alone in a world where race oozes from every pore of humanity. In a world where racism is becoming increasingly important, we will need more such leaders. And invariably they will be people of colour: on this subject whites lack moral authority. I could only understand the racism suffered by my wife through her words and experience. I never felt it myself. The difference is utterly fundamental.

· Martin Jacques is a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics. The death of his wife, Harinder Veriah, in 2000 in a Hong Kong hospital triggered an outcry which culminated in this summer's announcement by the Hong Kong government that it would introduce anti-racist legislation for the first time

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How to clean your keyboard on Shine

It’s important to remember to show your keyboard some love every now and then both for the sake of good hygiene and to ensure it functions properly. Those keys take quite a beating everyday, and all the little crevices are excellent at trapping things like dust and hair, and if you ever eat near your computer, it’s easy to wind up with sticky surfaces and crumbs buried between the cracks. Ew, right? Here, step-by-step instructions to get your keyboard in tip top shape.

Shut down your PC, and unplug the mouse, discs or CDs, USB drives or anything else that’s protruding from your machine. Carefully, turn the keyboard (or your entire laptop, as the case may be) upside down and give it a gentle shake to release any dusty build-up that might be lurking between the keys.

Use a can of compressed air (available at just about any electronics store) to blow off residual debris around and under all the nooks and crannies. Alternatively, the hose of a vacuum cleaner works too.

Put a couple drops of isopropyl alcohol on a Q-tip and run it around the edges of your keys to get them squeaky clean. The cotton swab should be only slightly damp—not wet—dripping liquid into your keyboard is (obviously) a bad thing!

Lastly, give the whole thing a once over with a dry, lint-free cloth, and let it air dry for a few minutes before using it (never turn on your machine until you’re positive the keys are completely dry). And between in-depth cleanings, one of my favorite tricks is to use the sticky part of a Post-It note to run between rows of keys to pick up dust.

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From Local To Global Small Business: 5 Best Practices That Make It Happen | The Small Business United Blog

From Local To Global Small Business: 5 Best Practices That Make It Happen

by Laurel Delaney - October 22, 2009

Looking ahead ten years, it is easy for me to see that nearly every single person on the planet will have a global small business that hopefully will become BIG someday.  This evolution will be similar to the shift from black and white television to color.  If you had tried to watch black and white television for the rest of your life — which some consumers attempted to do because they didn’t have the money to buy a color set or hated change — that set someday would die.  At some point, to repair it would have cost far more than a brand new color TV.  So whether they liked it or not, consumers had to move with the masses and upgrade to the new color technology.  They soon discovered it was the coolest invention ever and the best investment that money could buy!  That’s how I envision the radical shift from small business to global small business.


Here are five reasons why it’s happening.


1.  Innovation. It’s cool and ageless, as we can see by the widespread use of social-media and networking sites; innovation is only going to keep growing and getting better.  It’s a way to thrive in an increasingly complex and connected world.  We have to accept this, master the disruptive breakthroughs as fast as possible and stay ahead of it as best we can by making optimum use of its capabilities for growing our small businesses into global powerhouses.


 Just like entrepreneurship is not for the weak at heart, innovation isn’t either, for it requires risk, a tolerance for failure and the ability to make a move on every brilliant idea that flies across your desk.  Small businesses that are poised to come out of the downturn on top will be those that learn how to use innovation to drive growth (both revenue and profits) and productivity.


2.  Technology.  Inasmuch as we need innovation to keep technology interesting, we also need technology for the sake of constant change and affordability.  It has never been easier to test new ideas for pennies and at lightening speed.  For instance, look at the astronomical growth in blogs, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Mobile gadgets too will continue to get smaller and more powerful, bolstering the case that going global will be a prerequisite for long-term success.


Whether you are on a beach or in your PJs, your work will get done worldwide provided accessibility is your middle name. And cloud computing, the next new growth environment, will play a major role for SMBs in application delivery.  Someday, not too far off in the future, customers anywhere in the world with a mobile device will be able to text you their next big container order, and all you will have to do is hit four keystrokes (ASPD):  Acknowledge, Ship, Payment and Delivery.  That’s it.  All of it will be pre-programmed as a typical online process for an international sales transaction.  Go buy those PJs!


3.  Global entrepreneurship.  Because our current economic environment is so awful, the only thing you can count on in life is yourself, so everyone will not only think about whether they have the skill set for entrepreneurship but will seriously jump into it as a new way of life.  Combine that mindset with the use of innovation and technology, and a heavy dose of determination to change the world, and you’ve got the ingredients for a global entrepreneurial revolution — a force not to be reckoned with.


4.  Sustainability practices.  Wikipedia’s definition of sustainability applies not only to our environment but also to every small business owner reading this entry:  “In a broad sense, it is the capacity to endure.”  Who knows this better than “us”?  We will see more and more small business owners increasingly committing themselves to sustainability strategies because they extend the efficiency and value of products and services.  Take, for example, The Wall Street Journal article “Sustainable Success”, which claims, “ … the companies most engaged in social and environmental sustainability are also the most profitable.”  Improving social and environmental conditions is fast becoming the soul of a local or global small business enterprise.


5.  Green initiatives.  Sustainability initiatives usually spur green initiatives, and green initiatives are most certainly on the rise.  Being environmentally conscious is not only good for our well-being, it’s even better for our planet.  We’ll see more green initiatives put into play in the years to come, and consumers will begin to expect it.  A good example is just this week I attended a local seminar where the keynote speaker highlighted the results of simply placing a recycling symbol on her company’s website:  The small business owner grew her business from one year to the next by more than 25 percent!  Together we can slowly create a better world for our companies, communities and the people we care about.


If we can send a man or a woman into space simply to experience the magic of it, we’ll absolutely be able to do business with anyone, anywhere in the world.


Follow these five best practices, reach for the stars, and watch your business take off.



Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote cast)


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Global business expert Laurel Delaney is the founder of (a Global TradeSource, Ltd. company). She also is the creator of “Borderbuster,” an e-newsletter, and The Global Small Business Blog (, all highly regarded for their global small business coverage. You can reach Delaney at or Twitter @LaurelDelaney

Comments (14)

  1. Joerg Weisner says:

    A great post Laurel.
    I would like to translate it to German and publish it on my Job&Joy Blog.
    Do you agree?

    Best wishes from Germany


  2. Sam Maropis says:

    I remember one of the businesses I owned a few years ago, I heard of new technology for my business, and I bought the cheapest model, it was still bleeding edge stuff for our business, but I kept watch of what was new in my business, and because I was a early adopter I was able to get orders that others could not do.

    Then I got my largest account from this new technology, and the account was in England, and I was in Ohio. So thinking about international sales has helped me a lot in the past, I would recommended it to every business.


  3. Laurel Delaney, Chicago, IL says:

    Hi Joerg,

    Thank you for commenting. We are delighted you are interested in translating our “From Local to Global Small Business” entry to German.

    We merely ask that you reference our post and provide the originally published URL for your readers. And definitely come back here and let us know when it is featured!

    Look forward to it,

  4. Laurel Delaney, Chicago, IL says:

    Sam ~

    What great experience sharing! Thank you so much. Keep it coming and definitely keep going after global opportunities. If you can’t find them, CREATE them!

    All the best,

  5. Amadou M. Sall says:

    Awesome post, Laurel, as usual. I’m sharing it with my Facebook friends (!

  6. Robert says:

    Small business

    Often we forget the little guy, the SMB, in our discussions of the comings and goings of the Internet marketing industry. Sure there are times like this when a report surfaces talking about their issues and concerns but, for the most part, we like to talk about big brands and how they do the Internet marketing thing well or not so well.

    The Center for Media Research has released a study by Vertical Response that shows just where many of these ‘Main Street’ players are going with their online dollars. The big winners: e-mail and social media. With only 3.8% of small business folks NOT planning on using e-mail marketing and with social media carrying the perception of being free (which they so rudely discover it is far from free) this should make some in the banner and search crowd a little wary.

  7. Robert says:

    Small business

    2) The Center for Media Research has released a study by Vertical Response that shows just where many of these ‘Main Street’ players are going with their online dollars. The big winners: e-mail and social media. With only 3.8% of small business folks NOT planning on using e-mail marketing and with social media carrying the perception of being free (which they so rudely discover it is far from free) this should make some in the banner and search crowd a little wary……….

  8. Robert says:

    Small business

    1) Often we forget the little guy, the SMB, in our discussions of the comings and goings of the Internet marketing industry. Sure there are times like this when a report surfaces talking about their issues and concerns but, for the most part, we like to talk about big brands and how they do the Internet marketing thing well or not so well……..

  9. Robert says:

    Small business
    3) According to the study, the most important tool for small businesses to succeed in 2010 is search engine marketing, while email marketing, public relations and social media cited as crucial for success.
    23.8% of all small businesses reported that search engine marketing was the tool most needed for their business to succeed in 2010….

  10. Robert says:

    Small business
    4) Small Business owners are largely forgotten. Thats why I only focus on them. I have experience several members of my family file bankruptcy due to small business failures. I also I suffered through 2 destroyed businesses due to failure however, in my failings I have learned some of the secrets to success. (Who can say they know it all?)
    What I like about small business owners is that they are not afraid to take huge risks and lay it all on the line. But, I agree they do need a lot of help with their marketing. I think having them go the social media and email route is not only the least expensive but its also the most effective. Thanks for the stats!

  11. Robert says:

    Small business
    5) With Facebook and Twitter being among the leaders of the Social networks, marketing as a small business is being transformed..
    Respondents according to the Vertical Response survey appear to need some differentiation with the use of SE marketing and Social media Marketing.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

NewsFactor Business | Foreign Exports: Small Business in a Big World

Foreign Exports: Small Business in a Big World Foreign Exports: Small Business in a Big World
By John Tozzi
March 24, 2010 7:04AM

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The Obama Administration wants to double U.S. foreign exports in five years by enlisting the help of small business, with new federal efforts to encourage global trade. But first, entrepreneurs must overcome concerns about getting paid. For small businesses to succeed with foreign exports, online marketing and e-commerce are essential.

Other business owners might sour on exporting after what happened to David Old. His company, a 15-employee wood flooring producer in Las Vegas, N.M., had completed a $130,000 order for a new theater floor for a customer Relevant Products/Services

in Seoul, South Korea, in 2008. The buyer paid a deposit up front, passed a credit check, and made the first two payments on time. But the final payment of $40,000, due after the financial crisis began that fall, never arrived.

Despite the loss, Old is counting on foreign sales to expand his business from $1.25 million in revenue this year to $20 million in three years, based on a process he's developing to make high-quality block flooring out of low-grade wood. A 54-year-old Marine veteran who speaks six languages and had a previous business trading aircraft internationally, Old says customers from around the world find him online, and vice versa.

His company, Old Wood LLC, represents both the challenges and the potential that exporting presents small businesses. President Barack Obama set a goal to double American exports in the next five years in his National Export Initiative launched Mar. 11. For that to happen, he's pushing for more companies like Old's to expand into new markets abroad.

Companies with fewer than 500 employees make up half of private nonfarm GDP but only 30 percent of exported goods, according to data Relevant Products/Services

from the Census and the Small Business Administration. Large companies dominate exports. The top 500 U.S. exporters accounted for 60 percent of the value of all exported goods in 2007, according to the latest data available from the Census. Total U.S. exports, including goods and services, topped $1.5 trillion in 2009.

Federal 'Hand-Holding'

Skeptics argue that federal efforts will have little effect because exports depend on foreign growth and the value of the dollar. But others say many small businesses that succeed in the U.S. just need some education and assistance to start selling abroad. "There are like-minded customers out there for almost any product category," says Tomas Hult, director of the International Business Center at Michigan State University. "If there's some hand-holding in that initial part of the process, we're going to see some results."

The biggest hurdle stopping most companies from doing business abroad is fear, says Fred Hochberg, chairman of the Export-Import Bank, a government agency that helps U.S. companies finance international trade through loan guarantees, credit insurance, and other support. "If you're a small business in New York and you're selling to Chicago, you know what the laws are, you know where the banks are, you know if you don't get paid you can sue," he says. "When you're selling overseas, those things aren't as clear." (continued...)

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Secret of Social Media Success on the Global Scene :The Cross-cultural Connector

Social Media Goes Global

Social Media is now everywhere on the global scene and, as Ford’s Scott Monty puts it in Social Media Goes Global “… major brands now have little choice but to meet their target consumer where they increasingly live online — social media.”

Of course a company’s brand message should not vary from market to market and it is supposed to be the same message on a global level. But, “you can’t simply translate the same conversation and send it around the world”, says Bob Pearson, VP of communities and conversations at Dell.

Adapt, Adapt, Adapt!

You must literally “get inside” your target market’s culture and language, adapt to their user behavior and business practices, and use their preferred platforms. Bear in mind that those social interaction platforms are not necessarily those you are used to in the U.S., for example in Brazil, ORKUT is more popular than Facebook, Bebo and Ecademy are powerful in the UK, Skyrock and Viadeo in France, VZGruppe in Germany, MxIT has 5.2 million users in South Africa. Hi5 is still leading in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Portugal, Mongolia, Romania, while V Kontakte is the most popular in Russia and many former Soviet Republics, Hyves in Netherlands, Mixi in Japan, Zing in Vietnam. Friendster still rules in Philippines and Malaysia, though it seems to be slowly but surely losing ground to Facebook. Maktoob is the most important Arab community/portal. And have you ever heard of Indian start-ups such as Ibibo and BigAdda? For more on this, see Vincos’s World Map of Social Network


What about China? Writes Wei Wang in ReadWriteWeb’s Don’t Assume China Mimics US-Style Social Media: “Simply flinging an American product into the Chinese market won’t succeed, because every social media category has a Chinese equivalent that is tuned to the particular needs of the mainland Chinese market.”

China’s leading social network is Qzone (376,000,000 registered accounts). With 1,452,000 registered accounts, Facebook fails to rank among the top 15 social networks in China while MySpace can boast only 6 million users (much more than Facebook though, another difference from the U.S). As for Twitter, it does not even appear among the Top 20 Chinese Social Networks ‘Virtually’ Out-Earn Facebook And MySpace: A Market Analysis!

And BBS, yes the good old Bulletin Board System, is still very much alive and extremely popular in China, with Tianya the #1 BBS (almost 30 million users!)

Wei Wang’s conclusion, (mine too :-) : “This all means that Internet companies from the US looking to crack the mainland Chinese market need to do their homework and tailor their products accordingly.”

Social Media Rising All Over The World

And of course this also works for all other markets on the global scene.

Also check out The Next Billion – The Rise of Social Network Sites in Developing Countries. It was written in June 2009, but it still gives you an idea of what’s happening on the African and Asian social media scenes. Things move very fast in the online world, so the figures are probably much higher now, 9 months later…

Note the growing importance of the mobile phone “there is a much higher mobile saturation in terms of consumer content in Europe and Asia” (Scott Monty). Also see Christian Kreutz’s “Culture of social networks in Africa on the example of trade

A New Type of Market Research

Now you can meet your market on social media, wherever it is located in the world, or almost. But this requires a new type of market research, because Facebook and Twitter are not as “global” as you might think. However the social media experience you may have acquired will come in handy, and all you have to do is adapt it to your new markets and audiences. For this you will need empathy, flexibility, adaptability, cultural awareness and cross-cultural competency, and also probably the services of a good translation/localization company.

Amadou M. Sall

What do you say? Tell us about your Social Media experience on the Global Scene!

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Communication Between Cultures

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Brand-new Facebook Page!

Join the conversation on: Cross-cultural Communication and Marketing, Social Media, Cultural Competency, The Global Mindset, Global Skills, Globalization... at my brandnew Facebook Page

Welcome and Thanks a lot

Amadou M. Sall

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Tale of Tolerance, Understanding, and Translation « Laws and Languages

Friday, March 19, 2010

“Protectionism — The Dog That Didn’t Bark” :The Cross-cultural Connector

Check out “The Globalist”’s latest perspective on Free Trade (Open Trade) and the WTO.

Free Trade, OpenTrade

“What explains the great reluctance around the world to embark on protectionism during the current global economic crisis? Edward Alden examines the role of the WTO, the strengthening role of emerging market economies, global sourcing — and the lowering of national affiliations among big corporations.” (Read more on “The Globalist”)


Amadou M. Sall

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Feeling Irish today? (Being Peter Kim)

More Evidence SMBs Need A Web Presence | Small Business Trends

Still not sold on why your small business needs to establish a Web presence? Well, I have some numbers that may finally change your mind. According to the “User View Wave VII” from BIA/Kelsey and ConStat, 90 percent of Internet users search online for nearby businesses, with 97 percent looking toward online media. That’s right. Nearly all of your customers are going online to find out what’s right around the corner. It may sound like fuzzy logic, but it’s a sign of the times. It’s also a sign that without a Web presence, your SMB may find itself invisible.

But isn’t that a lot of work? How can a SMB owner create the needed presence without draining time and resources? I’ll show you.

Claim Your Web site

Your Web site is step one in building and maintaining a presence on the Web. Even if you plan to be really active in social media you need to start here. Your Web site is the place on the Web that you own and can control. You can’t control what happens to all those other sites. Set the groundwork for your online identity by becoming the master of your own domain before someone needs to call a Twittervention.

Once you have it, use your Web site to share your company story and information, target your neighborhood by providing localized content, give answers to common questions, establish your own authority, and to help you grow an on-site community. Your small business Web site should tell the story of who you are and why someone should trust doing business with you. If you need help, here’s a bit more on why your SMB needs a Web site and some tips for creating one. And don’t forget, once you have your site, you’ll need to claim your local business listings Everywhere. These listings are super important in helping the search engines figure out who you are and where you’re relevant to.

Start a Blog

Once your site is up, get blogging. Blogging provides SMB owner with two really great benefits. First, it allows you to talk to, engage and interact with your community the way you can’t do from your site. By giving your audience a voice and talking to them about the issues related to your business, you establish yourself as a thought leader and give them a reason to keep coming back. You make your business the ‘go-to’ place for a particular topic and you help them to become invested in your brand. The more engaged you can make them, the better.

Your blog also allows you to go after long-term keywords to help your site earn rankings for terms you’re not targeting with your main site. Often you’ll find terms that are too niche to warrant a silo on your site, however, by simply writing a few keyword-rich posts on the subject, you may still be able to get your domain to show up.

Invest in Social Media

Creating a plan for how you’ll navigate social media is becoming increasingly important as more customers enter the fold and as the search engines put more weight on social signals. LAST MONTH, Google put Social Search into its search results and changed the way we look at online relationships. You don’t have to be everywhere in social media, but you should pick two or three sites to focus on and create a strong presence on each. If you’re not sure which sites are the best matches for your customers, do a bit of research. That may entail asking them, looking at your site logs to see where people are coming from, checking out niche sites, performing searches for [industry + social network], etc. Don’t just assume that your audience is on the most popular social networks. They may not be.

Once you figure out where you need to be, learn the social media ropes and find ways to integrate your social efforts into your site. Social media doesn’t have to be a crippling time investment. The experts say just 60 minutes a day should be enough to keep the competitors away. And frankly, you could probably do it in less.

Pay Attention to Reviews

Review sites have changed the way that customers discover businesses in their areas. Searchers go to Yelp find a good Mexican restaurant in their area and to do their homework on the place the new dentist they were thinking about using. They look at CNET reviews before they purchase a new television or laptop. They read reviews about potential chiropractors on Google Local. Searchers are seeking out these destinations more often for trusted first-hand experiences and the engines are giving them more weight in the search results, as well. That means you need to manage reviews better so that you know WHERE people are leaving them and WHAT they’re saying about you. By managing your reviews you not only help create a good site-wide conversation about your business, but you earn double the points when users find them in the search results.

The days where you needn’t worry about your online presence are over. Regardless of how big or small you are, customers are going online to do their research, which means you need to be there. The four simple steps above can take your site from invisible to search engine favorite.

About the Author

Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Co-Founder and Chief Branding Officer at Outspoken Media, Inc., an Internet marketing company that specializes in providing clients with online reputation management, social media services, and other Internet services. She blogs daily over at the Outspoken Media blog.

Connect with Lisa Barone:

Go online if you really want to meet your customers and/or prospects...

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Top 10 Tips | WebTranslation | Acclaro

Top 10 Tips for Website Translation-->

Top 10 Tips for Website Translation

Take your website across cultures with these actionable tips

Preparing a website — including programming, copy, flash and video — for a new language market is no small feat. But with the right planning, approach and execution, your website will reach across borders and motivate your target audience to interact with your brand. Here are our top-10 tips for avoiding common online localization pitfalls:

  1. Align your site and global business strategy. Is your site supporting local offices in each market, or is your international presence online only? Look at your business infrastructure to ensure it can support the multilingual site objectives — and vice-versa. Items to consider include local legal requirements, local marketing, local customer support (email, call center), payment processing, sales fulfillment systems and more.
  2. Strategize your multilingual navigation. An important but often overlooked aspect of successful web localization include helping people find your site, such as geo-targeting, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), user settings and clear user navigation methods (e.g. pull down menu or splash screen with languages).
  3. Use a Content Management System (CMS). Maintaining site content becomes more complex as you add languages. If you have a large and frequently changing site, use a global-ready CMS to manage the content. Important features include:
    a. Ability to easily export and re-import content in a localization-friendly format such as XML
    b. Filtering and workflows for new/updated content
    c. Support for all targeted languages
  4. Stick to standards and Unicode. Adhering to generally accepted coding standards (for scripting and middleware, as well as HTML) is part of best practices in general, but also benefits localization in particular. Use Unicode for any applications handling content and encode files containing localizable text (e.g. HTML and XML) as UTF-8. Make sure to include your charset declaration in the file.
  5. Get ready for text expansion and contraction. Keep in mind that localized text will generally be longer than English, although many Asian languages require less space than English. Check your design and code to ensure that different text lengths are supported. A common issue-prone area is the horizontal navigation bar, which needs to be able to accommodate varied text lengths.
  6. Get your graphics and Flash ready. Graphics and Flash can play an important part in your website. Be aware, however, that complex graphics and Flash elements in particular can slow down the localization process if not set up for localization at the outset. Examples include externalizing text that will need translation in Flash or graphics and anticipating culturally appropriate imagery in advance.
  7. Consider global, regional and local site content. Determine what content is global and can be translated for all countries (e.g. corporate messaging and product descriptions) and what content is specific to particular regions or markets (e.g. local press and legal). Design the site and workflows to accommodate these content types.
  8. Plan for updates and maintenance. How frequently do you plan to update your site? Maintaining daily updates across languages will require a highly automated process between your CMS and your provider. If the updates are less frequent (monthly or quarterly) you may not need to invest as much in automation.
  9. Build a matching source site. If you are planning to localize only part of your website, it is best to build out that new partial website first before you hand off files for localization. This will enable a review and sign-off on the localization content by your local offices, as well as ensure that the partial website is functioning correctly. It also creates a matching source site to test the localized sites against during linguistic QA.
  10. Consider multilingual search. Don’t expect that just translating the site will bring a rush of international customers. You need to optimize for search. This includes all the same elements of your domestic search campaigns including creating local domains, using relevant keywords for the URLs, metadata and content, link building etc.

A successfully localized website can drive your business into new language markets. Partnering with an experienced localization partner will save both time and costs in the long run — and ensure that your project launches on time. Visit our website translation services today or explore our portfolio to see how we can help you with your web localization needs. Then, contact us or request a quote for more information.

Tips to a successful global online presence. We get it.

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Friday, March 05, 2010

How To Write Relentlessly Focused – and Still Say Everything You Want To | Write to Done

A guest post by Bamboo Forest of Pun Intended

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if there was a method ensuring every article you wrote was concise, relentlessly focused and said everything you wanted it to?

There is.

I recommend using a thesis statement and outline for many posts that you pen.

Jesse Hines has written,

“A thesis statement is generally one or two sentences in which you clearly lay out your focus, idea or argument.”

While in an academic setting a thesis statement is included in your actual paper, I’m referring to something you write just for yourself. Write a thesis statement before you begin your post and it will set the tone for the rest of your article. It will encourage you to stay consistently aligned with what you’re trying to get across, making your article stronger and better.

After the thesis statement has been made, you’re now ready for the outline.

Have you ever gone to the grocery store without a grocery list? I don’t know about you, but I have. And the outcome often results in forgetting important items that you really wanted to purchase. It’s a real bummer, isn’t it?

This can happen with your writing, too. If you write a post without first gathering exactly what you want to include, you’re bound to forget a few important points that would have made your article better. Let’s not do that.

Prior to writing an outline, I recommend you first look over any notes you have pertaining to the post you’re about to write.

Then, simply break it down. I take a real relaxed approach to writing an outline and I recommend you do as well. Remember, we’re not submitting this outline to a stuffy teacher. We’re simply preparing ourselves to write the best post of our life.

I break my outline down using capital letters, A;B;C; etc. After each letter I include an important point that I don’t want to forget while writing my article. The outline ensures that everything I wanted to get into my article, does. It also keeps the order and flow of my post logical.

Another benefit of using an outline is it encourages†very tight writing.

Jesse Hines has written,

“Once I’ve developed a solid outline, writing the article is, in a sense, simply filling in the blanks.”

When you know from the beginning exactly what your article is going to encompass, you fill those blanks in with ultra focus. You say only what you need to say to get the specific points across.

Of course, as you’re writing your post and referring back to your outline — you’re not beholden to it. You can change the order as you see fit.

Also, youíll most likely include more information in your post than your outline lays out. This will happen organically from the main points you wanted to ensure got included in your post.

Using a thesis statement and outline in your writing is like laying down a strong foundation before building a house. Your architecture will end up stronger, and more beautiful.

P.S. — This is my outline for this guest post:

A. Wouldn’t it be great…
B. What’s a thesis statement?
C. It helps you stay focused and not drift all over the place
D. An outline works like a grocery list
E. What’s an outline?
F. Conducive to being concise, because now you’re essentially filling in the blanks.
G. Conclusion: The preparation stages are like laying down a strong foundation to a house.

Bamboo Forest writes for†Pun Intended, a blog that will make you laugh and feel inspired. To ensure you don’t miss all the goodies,†subscribe†here.

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